Home Safety Tips for Summer Vacation
When it comes to keeping your home safe, burglary is your biggest risk. According to the FBI, a burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15.4 seconds. The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or school. The summer months of July and August see the peak of home burglaries with more people away for summer vacation. Seventy percent of burglars use some amount force to enter a home, but their preference is to gain easy access through an open door or window. As a deterrent, place highly visible decals on glass doors and windows near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system, a dog, or block watch/operation identification system is in place.
Home burglar’s typically target homes to burgle that are unoccupied, and come with the easiest possible access and escape routes. Burglars will also look for spots with plenty of cover. Use these home safety tips to help decrease your chances of a break-in.
Doors and Locks
Most burglars enter homes by the front, back, or garage doors. Typically the garage is the weakest point of entry, followed by the back door. Doors with flimsy strike plates are more susceptible to being kicked in. Do not leave valuables or keys inside your car even when it’s inside of your garage as burglars will often look there once they have broken into the garage.
- Use high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks on exterior doors
- Purchase solid core or metal doors for all entrance points
- Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt
- Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead-latch mechanism
- Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with 3-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden door frame
- Use a wide-angle 160° peephole mounted no higher than 58 inches
Sliding-Glass Patio Doors
Sliding glass doors are not as secure as regular doors because they are secured by latches not locks. Your best defense here is to insert a wooden dowel or stick into the track, which limits movement on the door. There are other blocking devices available such as metal fold-down pieces called “charley bars” and various track-blockers that can be screwed down. To prevent your glass door from being lifted off, keep the latch mechanism and door rollers in good working condition and install anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins or upper track screws.
Especially during the warm summer months, it is common that windows will be left open and unlocked. An open window visible from the road or a nearby pathway can make your home a target, particularly if it is on the ground floor. Upper floor windows can also attract activity if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, or by climbing on balconies. Since windows have latches instead of locks, secondary blocking devices should be used to prevent sliding them open from the outside. Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows and through-the-frame pins work well for vertical sliding windows. If you need ventilation, keep the opening to six inches and make sure that the dowel can’t be reached from the outside. Anti-lift devices are a good idea for ground level and accessible aluminum windows that slide horizontally.
Look out for your neighbors
Get to know the neighbors on either side of you and the three directly across the street; invite them into your home and establish trust. Ask your neighbors to watch for unusual activity around your house while you are away and do small tasks to help keep up the appearance that you are home. Neighbors can report suspicious activity to the police and help to continue regular household activities such as mowing the lawn and picking up the mail. They may also park in your driveway to give the appearance that someone is home. A trusted neighbor should be given a key to your home to avoid leaving a key under the mat or above a ledge. Do the same for your neighbors.
A dark home several nights in a row indicates you are away. Set light timers near front and back windows to match your usual light usage while you are away; it is not a bad idea to use light timers on a daily basis. When you set a light routine your neighbors may become accustomed to your pattern which means that they could become suspicious when the light usage is different than normal. You can also use light timers to turn radios and televisions off and on.
Exterior lighting can be a deterrent to a burglar trying to break into your home. Install lights that are bright enough to see 100-feet. Important areas to light are the front and back doors, the garage door, and along the pathways and the perimeter of your home. Do not leave your outdoor lights on all day as it is an indication that you are away. Security lights with infra-red or heat sensors are a good safety tool and can be used instead of regular porch or other outdoor lights.
Alarm systems are an effective tool in preventing home break-ins if they are used properly. The more homes with an alarm system in a neighborhood the bigger the deterrent because burglars know that they increase the chances that they will be caught. The deterrent comes from placing the alarm company lawn sign in your yard and from the alarm decals on the windows.
- Never write your alarm pass code on or near the alarm keypad
- Ensure your alarm is properly installed and maintained
- Purchase an alarm that will also monitor for fire
- Purchase an alarm with a loud horn or bell but that resets after two minutes
Make sure your alarm response call list is up to date and instruct your neighbor on how to respond to an alarm bell.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident because of the negligence of another, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the persistent and caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!