A lot of misconceptions exist when it comes to home break-ins, but arming yourself with the right information is the first step in preventing home burglaries, especially in the summer. Homes are more often burglarized in the warmer months for several reasons, including greater opportunity and more daylight hours for the burglaries to occur.
Clearing Up Some of the Myths about Home Burglaries
Myth #1: Most burglars are strangers.
Truth: Somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of home burglars know the victims. In the summertime, your acquaintances or even close friends are more likely to know when you are on vacation, leaving your home vulnerable.
Myth #2: A home security system wouldn’t stop someone truly intent on breaking into the house.
Truth: Homes that don’t have security systems are 300% more likely to be burglarized.
Myth #3: Thieves strike at night.
Truth: While it’s true that they might feel like they won’t be seen at night, burglars know you’re likely to be home asleep in your bed at that time. For that reason, they’re more likely to break into your home during the day, when you’re at work, school, or running errands. Again, if you’re out enjoying your summer days, you’re not home, and burglars know that.
Myth #4: Home burglars don’t have a plan of action.
Truth: While it’s true that burglaries are associated with desperation and sometimes are whimsical, home burglars are likely to scope out a residence first. They will check to see if there’s an alarm system, see if the dog is home, and keep track of when you’re most likely to be out. In fact, they might even have someone waiting for them in a getaway car and have carefully planned an escape route that is smooth and seamless. (In this sense, home break-ins may be slightly different than smash ‘n grabs from vehicles, which tend to be crimes of opportunity.)
Tips for Preventing Home Burglaries in the Summer
According to a variety of sources, including FBI statistics, home burglaries increase by about 10% in July and August, whereas the rates are about 11% lower in the winter. It’s easy to see why: homeowners take long vacations, there are more daylight hours for the burglaries to occur, and there’s no snow on the ground to deter amateur thieves.
Regardless, it’s important to protect your home every day. Following are some general tips for preventing home burglaries all year-round, along with additional ways to prevent home burglaries in the summertime.
- Install a security system, or if you already have one, make sure everything is working properly.
- Make sure valuables aren’t visible through your windows. If they are, consider placing a plant indoors to block the view or growing a small tree outside of that window.
- Before you leave for a long vacation, there are a few things you can do.
- Place a hold on your mail. Having mail pile up in your mailbox is a clear indication that you’re not home.
- Shut your blinds and curtains.
- If you have the capability, activate the timer on the lights in your home so that they open and shut at different times in different rooms, giving the appearance that someone is walking around the house turning the lights on and off.
- Have someone you know and trust park their car in your driveway, and make sure they move it every now and then.
- Do some maintenance on your landscaping a day or two before you leave. Tall grass and misshapen bushes also are a sign that you’re not home. If you plan to be gone for several weeks or months, hire a landscaper to maintain your property or ask a friend to do it for you.
- Alert your home security company and the local police station that you will be away from home for an extended period of time.
- Ask a friend to stop by your house every day or every few days to water the plants and feed the fish, both to keep them alive and to make sure anyone who is scoping out the house knows there is some activity in it.
- Don’t advertise your plans to be away from home on your social media accounts.
- Lock your doors and shut your garage door when you leave the house and while you’re asleep. About a quarter of all home burglaries occur when someone is home.
- Leave a sign on your lawn or on your front door indicating that you have an alarm system installed.
- In addition to locking the doors, place a long, narrow board into the track of any sliding doors from the inside in order to provide additional resistance.
- Many burglars have the audacity to simply break the locks and then walk in through your front door, so installing a sturdier door and locks may be beneficial.