With the pandemic easing, many families in Northeast Florida are looking forward to visiting out-of-town relatives or heading on vacation. Yet, crime rates across the country often start to peak as temperatures rise during the warm weather months – the same time that many families leave their homes unoccupied and unprotected.
However, there are several simple precautions homeowners can take to make their homes less of a target for criminals:
No “Home Alone”
Before leaving the house, make it look as if someone is still at home by using timers on lights in various rooms. Even though daylight hours are longer during the summer, it is important to make sure your home appears occupied, as it may become dark faster than you expect, or you may return home later than anticipated.
No Sharing on Social Media
It is not wise to share your vacation plans on social media sites or in messages on your answering machine. Announcing to the world that your house will be empty makes it a perfect target for burglars or vandals.
No Open-Door Policy
Ensure the doors and windows of your home and garage are locked, even if you are only leaving for a short time. The typical burglary takes less than five minutes. Unlocked doors, combined with an empty home, signal a “welcome mat” for criminals.
Someone to Watch Over Me
Keep your landscaping and lawn neat and trim. Shrubbery and other plants can grow rapidly during the warm, wet summer months. Keeping your yard tidy while you are away helps neighbors easily see your home. Burglars view an unkempt yard as a sign of an empty home.
A Key Reminder
When leaving home, take your house keys with you or leave a spare set with a trusted neighbor. Never leave a key under a welcome mat, in a flowerpot or mailbox, or other such hiding spot. Most burglars know where to look.
Crime Doesn’t Take a Vacation
If you’re planning to be away from home for more than a day or two, ask a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers or arrange to cancel the paper and hold the mail. Disable your garage door opener and manually lock it from the inside, and don’t forget to check that the door leading from the garage to the home is locked, too.