Summer fun, here we come! Beautiful weather and carefree recreation are finally here!
Vacations have been planned; kids have happily escaped the school year. It is time for all forms of outdoor recreation, BBQ's and picnics, or to just stretch out with a good book. We are often so relaxed in the warmer weather that we forget just how dangerous the summer months can be.
Burglaries occur every 90 seconds in Canada. The summer months, particularly July and August, are the peak time for residential burglaries. Homeowners usually think that break-ins take place at night. But thieves do not always function under the cover of darkness, the way most people think. In fact, 80% of all break-ins occur during the day.
While people are on vacation, taking daytrips to the waterslide, local pool or beach, burglars are prowling your neighborhood. It is the ideal time to explore your home unhindered.
Leaving doors and windows open in the heat of the day while you are gardening or making a quick run to the store, will attract burglars.
Most burglaries take place between 10 am and 3 pm. They accomplish their mission in an average of 10 minutes, and they prefer an empty home. Burglars also tend to choose homes with easy escape routes. Cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets are less likely to be targeted by burglars than through streets are.
Precautions to secure the safety of your family
So, how do you keep your house from being targeted? Here’s a list of easy-to-use tips to help protect you from home burglary this summer (and all year round). Try to think like a burglar to discover the best deterrents to being a victim of robbery.
Points of Entry
• Your front door is actually the most popular entry point for a burglar. In some cases, they can get in by just kicking it open (especially if the door has a wooden jamb). Some burglars will knock to see if anyone’s home during the day (if you are, they may just make up a story and move along).
• Trim shrubbery and bushes close to your house to eliminate common hiding spots. Keep your lawn well maintained and shrubbery well-manicured and low in front of your house. Tall greenery provides an easy hiding place for burglars. An overgrown lawn advertises an extended absence.
• Criminals commonly target unlocked cars. Don’t leave valuables, or a garage door opener in your car. Always lock your car doors.
• Setting up a security camera in the front and back of your home is a good idea. Certain mobile security apps let you know if someone approaches your home when you’re not there.
• Change the pass codes on alarms and garage doors from time to time.
• Install motion sensor lights in the backyard and near all access doors.
• Use deadbolt locks and upgrade patio/sliding glass door locks. A strong board placed in the runner track of a sliding glass door is an added precaution.
• Never hide spare keys outside under flagstones or in flowerpots, or leave notes informing someone you are not home.
• A home security system is a very effective deterrent. An approved burglar and fire alarm system can also save you money on your home insurance premiums. However, having a home security system is no guarantee that your home won’t be the target of residential burglary. It is important to note, that homes without a security system have a 300% higher chance of getting broken into.
Out of Sight--Out of Mind
• Keep any expensive electronics, art, or furniture that is easily spotted through windows, out of sight. Don't tempt thieves!
• Close blinds and windows coverings and keep your garage doors locked so valuable items won't be seen at night. Consider using privacy film or decorative glass for windows that are on or around doors.
• Keep your jewelry and valuables secure in a safe (bolted to the floor), or an off-site safety deposit box when you are out or on vacation.
• Whether or not you have a big, vicious dog, or a loveable, little, miniature pug; invest in one of those “beware of dog” signs for the front of your house.
Social Media and Other Faux Pas
• Don’t announce your vacation on social media, to strangers or service people. 65% of burglars know their victims! 85% of burglaries are committed by non-professionals.
• Don't let your home appear abandoned. Electronic timers on lighting and leaving a radio on when you are out of the house will help create the impression of the home being occupied.
• When you go on vacation, always have your mail and newspapers held, to avoid showing burglars a pile of unopened mail. Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to keep up with the mowing of the lawn and putting the trash cans out and in.
• If you're leaving the car at home, keep it where you normally would. Disconnect the garage door opener in your absence.
• Always change the locks if you lose a set of keys or when you move into a new home.
If you live in a condo building, always make sure the door closes behind you completely when entering or leaving the building. Report any security concerns, such as lights missing or pry marks at entrances, to your property manager.
Touch base with your insurance agent to be certain that your homeowner’s policy is up to date and that it adequately covers theft of your valuable items.
Make an inventory of your valuables to provide extra documentation for your insurance claim and to make the police report process easier.
Appropriate Response to a Burglary
Even after you have done everything right, you may be victimized by a burglar or burglars. If you arrive home and suspect there has been a break-in to your home, leave the residence immediately. Never confront a burglar or impede his exit. Don’t stay - always think of your safety first. Get in your car and drive off the property or go to a neighbor's house and call 911.
Upon the discovery of a break-in, and after the incident has been reported to the police, you should contact your insurance broker to arrange a time to meet with an adjuster.