When you think of summer, your mind may automatically conjure thoughts of beaches, swimming pools, picnics in the park or walks on the boardwalk. Security measures won’t likely be top of mind, but with the change in season comes new threats and risks to consider.
Indeed, research suggests there's a spike in household property crimes during summer months.
According to a special report from the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), researchers analyzing 17 years of data found that compared to the summer, household property victimization rates were seven and eight percent lower in the winter and spring, respectively, and three percent lower in the fall.
“In all of the years except 1995, rates of household property victimization appeared highest in summer and lowest in either winter or spring," the report said.
With higher rates of such crimes in the summer, it’s important to understand how to secure and protect your home.
Check out these 10 summer security tips from General Security, which covers best practices, as well as how such methods can be supported by emerging smart home technologies.
1. Lock Your Windows & Doors
This one might seem simple—and it is. However, as the glorious weather rolls in, you’re likely to crank open your windows or leave your door open to let in a breeze through the screen door. In the summer months, it’s also easy to forget about those open windows and doors that were closed for the other 39 weeks of the year. This also applies to garage doors that might be inadvertently left open while packing for your trip.
Even if you didn't remember to double check your home's doors, windows, and garage door, you can manage this through General Security's Smart Home Systems. This technology enables users to control various interior and exterior security settings from any mobile device or computer via the Alarm.com app.
2. Keep Valuables Out of Plain Sight
Keeping your doors and windows open also increases the chances of outsiders spotting valuables inside your home. Ensure expensive items, such as computers, tablets, phones or jewelry, are out of plain sight or stored in closets, boxes or drawers. At the same time, you want to be mindful that your car is also a potential target. Any valuables should be hidden from view or brought into your home. It’s also important you don’t leave a garage door opener in your car, especially if your garage is connected to your home.
3. Install A Home Security System
General Security can provide all the technology and equipment you need to protect your home. As aforementioned, our Smart Home Systems provide real-time control and monitoring from any mobile device. We can also help you install indoor and outdoor video cameras so you can keep an eye out for potential intruders.
Having adequate alarm coverage on your home and garage doors and windows is paramount to deter potential thieves and break-ins.
4. Purchase Security Equipment
If you don’t want a full security system, you can still purchase equipment separately to safeguard your home based on your needs. Alarm sensors can detect movement (for example, someone walking in the house) or windows and doors opening. Door locks add an extra layer of protection and can alert you when they're unlocked.
Having adequate alarm coverage on your home and garage doors and windows is paramount to deter potential thieves and break-ins. Should any of these be left open or unlocked while you're out, you'll have the ability to remotely control them from your mobile device.
Install an indoor or outdoor camera—or both—to provide added peace of mind while you're away. This is especially important with theft risks that historically increase during warmer months. Therefore, it's imperative your system is updated and in working order.
To learn more, check out our blog “Home Security: How to Install Outdoor Security Cameras.”
5. Add Outdoor Motion-Activated Lights
Adding motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your property can be the first line of defense against burglars. These security measures can deter potential intruders and alert you if someone is moving around outside.
Utilizing security cameras with video analytics is an added protection layer. This smart technology includes user-designated virtual tripwires and activity zones to control outdoor lighting or play music if this virtual line is crossed by potential intruders.
6. Don't Advertise Your Vacation on Social Media
As tempting as it may be to post a photo of you lying on the sand or sipping a cocktail by the pool, wait until you return from your travels to share these moments with the internet. This is hugely important because your social media followers may include several people you actually don’t know. Moreover, if your profile is public, anyone can access your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, providing a full view of travel updates you’ve posted. By sharing this information, you risk alerting potential thieves to your absence and vulnerability of your home. Since an empty home provides the perfect opportunity for a break-in, it’s best to keep home security in mind before hitting the “post” button on a vacation status update.
Another precaution to consider: Refrain from "checking in" or tagging locations of hotels or airports, and be sure to turn off your phone and social media GPS tracking features.
7. Make it Appear as Though You're Home
There are a few ways to do this. If you have a smart home security system, you can control your home protection from anywhere in the world. This means you can turn on the lights or television at night to make it look as though you’re home.
Consider smart outlets and bulbs to control your home's lighting. The alarm.com app can be utilized to schedule when lights go on and off or ensure other electronics turn on and shut down at the same time each day. You can also set an app rule to activate smart bulbs should your camera detect outdoor motion.
If you’re going to be away for a prolonged period, make sure your lawn is regularly serviced and watered. You can also remotely manage your outdoor sprinkler system's watering schedules. This ensures your home appears well-kept, as though you’re home and actively caring for the property.
Utilizing security cameras with video analytics is an added protection layer.
8. Ask a Neighbor to Help
It can be helpful to enlist a friendly neighbor to help you keep up appearances while you’re away. Then, when they take a vacation, you can do the same for them. If your preferred neighbor agrees to look after the house, ask them kindly to grab your mail each day, so it doesn’t accumulate and pick up newspapers if you neglected to suspend service. You can even ask them to park their car in your driveway. This makes it appear as though someone is home, plus it can keep your neighbor’s car off the street.
9. Find a House Sitter
If you can’t find a neighbor to look after your home, try to find a friend or relative who’s willing to stay at your house. This can put your mind at ease, knowing your home isn’t left unattended. Just be sure to let your neighbors know someone is staying at your home, so they don’t think there’s an intruder walking around.
10. Be Conscious of Spare Keys
It may seem like a good idea to keep a spare key under an object in the front or back of your home in case you get locked out. However, these situations are rare and the risk is higher than the potential benefit. If you insist on having access to spare keys, keep them in your wallet or purse, but don’t write your address on it. While on vacation, you may give a key to your neighbor, friend or relative, so they can check in on pets or take care of other matters. Ensure you get the key back after you’ve returned home.
For more information about keeping your home secure through the summer months, call General Security. If you’re interested in a home security system or equipment, request a free, contactless quote from us today.