While you’re finalizing your summertime plans for vacation, road trips, and or weekend getaways, thieves and burglars are just getting started on their busy season.
Read on to learn how to protect your home and car from break-ins this summer.
Contrary to TV dramas, most burglaries take place during the day, between 10 am and 3 pm. They’re more frequent in the summer months than any other season, and the average dollar loss is around $2,000. The most commonly stolen items during a break-in include cash, jewelry, medications/drugs, guns, and electronics. Here are some ways to protect your home against intruders while you’re away.
- Make It Look Like Someone’s Home – Set interior lights on timers. Keep up your lawn/landscaping care schedule. Put a hold on newspaper and mail delivery. Close blinds in rooms where expensive items, such as TVs and other large electronics, might be visible.
- Don’t Share On Social Media – Resist putting your upcoming travel plans on social media. The same goes for voicemail, answering machines, and email autoreply. If you can’t help posting on social, keep the dates vague and make sure that your posts are only shared with (close) friends.
- Be Lock Savvy – Remove any spare keys on your property (burglars know where to look). Do a thorough check to make sure the locks work on all windows and doors — and make sure you lock everything before leaving. Finally, lock the garage as well as your car inside it!
- Tap Your Neighbors – Depending on how long you’ll be gone, consider asking a trusted neighbor or friend to check in on your home periodically. They can check for signs of attempted entry, landscaping issues, or other damage. Inside your home, they can adjust blinds and shift furniture a bit to convey human presence.
- Install an Alarm System – It may be worth getting an alarm system. Be sure to put alarm signs in the front and back yard (the latter is where most intruders enter premises). Make sure to let your alarm company know when you’ll be out of town, and that they have an updated list of contacts and numbers.
It’s time to hit the road — for road trips, weekend trips and day hikes. Here are 5 simple ways to reduce the risk of a break-in while you’re away from your car.
- Lock It – This goes without saying, but do make sure to lock all doors, including the trunk, and make sure all windows are rolled up. Sometimes key fobs misfire, so it’s best to do a manual check of your doors. If you’re traveling with kids, double-check their windows in case they rolled them down.
- Hide Valuables – If possible, leave nothing of value in the car anywhere. Any visible items — even loose change or phone charging cords — increases the risk of a break-in. If that’s not possible, bring what you can with you in a purse or day pack, and/or stow them away in your car (in the glove box, under a seat, stashed in the trunk, etc.). Make your car look as tidy and sparse as possible before locking and leaving it.
- Park Smart – Be aware of your chosen parking spot’s surroundings. Parking garages tend to be safest. On the street, avoid areas that have broken glass near the curb. Choose a spot near other parked cars, in a well-lit and busy area.
- Consider an Anti-Theft Device – If your car didn’t come with one, you may want to install an audible alarm system, which emits a loud noise when someone attempts to enter. Other devices include steering wheel locks (an old standby that’s very affordable), wheel locks, brake locks and tire locks. There are also higher-tech solutions such as GPS-enabled tracking systems.
- Take the Spare – Thieves know where to look for spare keys, so be sure to always take all keys with you.
Nothing ruins a summer adventure like a break-in. Taking some smart steps beforehand to protect your home and car will pay off with peace of mind and fond summer memories.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.