Homes are empty when the homeowners go on vacation or to work, and many homeowners do not know that thieves are watching their moves for the best opportunity to break in. Law enforcement experts say that home invasions are crimes of opportunity, and thieves strike when they know it is a good time to do so. Although home invasions happen at all times during the year, the highest rate of these crimes is during the summer months. Nearly 30 percent of burglaries happen simply because there is an unlocked door or window. However, locking the doors and windows is not sufficient for total protection. Since many Americans are victims of home invasions and theft, American Modern recently released a set of tips for homeowners to use to prevent these problems. It is important for homeowners and renters alike to follow these tips to keep themselves, their families and their belongings safe.
American Modern recommends that all Americans take as many of these steps as possible to be safer:
- Reinforce strike plates and doorjambs to prevent structural failures from break-in attempts.
- Install durable deadbolts and locks on all doors that open to the outdoors.
- Always make sure windows are locked when the home is vacant and at night.
- Put security film on all windows and door windows that do not have treatments.
- Keep all sheds, garages and outbuildings locked at night and while away.
- Install motion-activated lights outdoors.
- Collaborate with neighbors to set up a neighborhood watch.
- Make sure vehicles, lawn equipment and any other sizable items are secure at night.
- Adopt a good guard dog from a shelter if possible.
- Make sure vacation homes and temporary homes are secured properly while away.
- Place temporary holds on mail while away for more than one day.
- While the home is vacant, set timed lights to come on at random times.
- If a television turns on for scheduled records, set it to record several shows while away on vacation.
Although homes are common targets, vehicles are also targets for criminals. If they see something of interest in the vehicle, they are more likely to make a break-in attempt. Keep cell phones, purses, money and other valuable items out of the car whenever it is not in use. Do not leave these items sitting in plain view while out running errands or doing other tasks. Put these items under seats or in the trunk whenever possible. People who have garages at home should use them for parking at all times. Many break-ins happen on the street and even in driveways. Make sure the driveway is properly lit, and it is a good idea to install a motion-activated light that shines directly on the driveway or the front of the garage.
Keep in mind that many thieves are after items that they can resell quickly. This includes recyclable materials, gold, copper wire and anything of value. Always be mindful about where items are placed in the home or in a vehicle. Do not leave valuable items sitting within view of a home's front windows or doors. Close the blinds or curtains at night. When leaving the home, be aware of who is in the neighborhood watching. If there are suspicious vehicles with people sitting in them and not moving, call the police to let them know. To learn how to properly insure homes and vehicles against burglaries, discuss concerns with our office 214-275-8372.