When warm weather arrives, crime rates increase, according to a study published by the NCBI.1 But the reason for higher crime rates during hotter months isn't entirely clear—some scientists point to stress while others focus on crimes of opportunity. Whatever the reason, property and people are at greater risk when the mercury rises. Here are five summertime safety tips to help protect your home during summer crime spikes.
Summer safety tips:
- Secure your windows
- Know who is at the door
- Protect your window-mounted air conditioner
- Make your house a difficult target
- Keep an eye on your home when you're out
Secure your windows
First on the list of summer safety tips? Make sure that when you open windows to let in the breeze that you're also following safety best practices. Start with outside window guards—such as rails or bars—or consider window stops, which prevent windows from being opened all the way. In addition to potential criminals, this safety tip reduces the risk of injury to children playing around windows or climbing on furniture.
It's also a good idea to install alarm sensors that alert you if any windows are unexpectedly open. Criminals are looking for the easiest way into your home, meaning they'll try to find a window you've left unlocked before breaking the glass. Window sensors make sure you always know exactly what's happening in your home.
Know who is at the door
Summertime means more visitors. It could be your neighbors coming by to invite you for a BBQ, or local children looking to play with your kids. It might be a delivery you've been expecting or someone making the rounds to sell you landscaping services. But it could also be someone looking to force their way into your home and take what they want. Ringing the doorbell is a common tactic used by criminals; if you answer and appear to be alone, they may attempt to barge in, and if no one answers, they may try kicking down the door.
You're best bet is to invest in a doorbell camera. If the doorbell rings, you can answer through a speaker, so whoever is on the other side knows that someone is home. Then, check your camera. If you don't recognize the visitor and aren't comfortable opening the door, tell them to leave; you don't owe them an open door if they're knocking unexpectedly. If they don't leave, call the police.
Protect your window-mounted air conditioner
The heat can sometimes make people do crazy things. Imagine coming home to a house with no air conditioning after a long day of being outside—getting cool would be your top priority. That's why securing your window-mounted air conditioner is next on our summertime safety tips list; these AC units are valuable commodities for criminals looking to make a quick profit or get out of the heat.
To reduce the chance of someone absconding with your AC, consider:
- Installing an air conditioner bracket: These brackets attach to the bottom of the AC unit and the side of your home to offer support. They also make it much more time-consuming for criminals to steal your cold air.
- Getting a window lock: Sliding window locks can be screwed or bolted in and prevent the window from moving once the AC unit is in place.
- Attaching a corner brace: Steel corner braces make it hard for criminals to pull or push your AC unit out of the window. Attach one end to the side of the AC unit and the other to a secure section of the wall using bolts or screws.
It's worth noting that these tips do require a moderate amount of handyman skill, but are well worth the time investment to keep your AC safe.
Make your house a difficult target
Longer summer months also mean that homeowners tend to spend more time outside—at a friend's backyard party, a local festival or simply a walking around the neighborhood to enjoy the sights and sounds of summer. Criminals know that many homes are unoccupied during warm evenings and weekends, reducing the risk of getting caught.
Want to help protect your property? Take these steps to make it a difficult target for criminals:
- Burglar-proof the backyard: Put padlocks on gates, store ladders out of sight and don't leave tools lying around. Tools and ladders often give criminals a helping hand breaking into your home. Using padlocks on chain link or wooden gates adds another layer of protection, frustrating would-be bad guys.
- Install motion sensor lights: If bright lights shine on criminals whenever they approach your house, they'll likely choose another target.
- Keep sight lines clear: Trim bushes and trees so that there's a clear sight line from windows to front and back entryways. The last thing criminals want is an audience.
Keep an eye on your home when you're out
Peace of mind is the goal of every homeowner, especially when they're away from their property. That's why the last of our summer safety tips is installing indoor and outdoor security cameras that can instantly alert you if something isn't right. Paired with a cutting-edge home security system and mobile application, cameras can be set to turn on if they detect motion or activate in response to window or door sensors. You can quickly determine if it's just your kids coming home or if criminals are trying to force their way in.
Feel safe in your home this summer
Summer should be a time of rest and relaxation. Reduce your summertime stress by taking steps to improve security—protect your windows, monitor your doors, secure your AC, make your house a difficult target and stay in the loop about what's happening at home.
- Schinasi, L. H., and G. B. Hamra. "A Time Series Analysis of Associations between Daily Temperature and Crime Events in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania." Advances in Pediatrics. December 2017. Accessed May 24, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28687898