Summer is the season of pool parties, family vacations, and cool drinks in the sun. But unfortunately, it’s also the season of property crime. A special report from the Department of Justice found that in the past 17 years, the summer has seen a near-universal uptick in property victimization crimes in the summer months. Nothing can make a summer vacation turn sour faster than returning to your home to find it’s been burglarized. Here are a few summer safety tips to keep your home secure in the warmer months.
Lock Your Doors and Windows
As the weather heats up, many Portlanders leave their doors and windows ajar to enjoy a cool breeze in the mornings and evenings. However, keeping your property secure is hard if a criminal can simply step inside. If you forget to close and lock your doors and windows before leaving the house, an opportunistic housebreaker may hit the jackpot.
The solution is simple: always ensure your house is completely locked before leaving. Even if you’re running to the store for 20 minutes, that may be all the time it takes for someone to walk right in and help themselves to your valuables.
For people with window air conditioners, contact or tilt sensors are another great investment to alert you if someone is trying to open your window.
Be Mindful of Every Entry Point
In the same vein as securing your doors and windows, you should also be sure there are no other ways a thief could quickly enter your home. Garage door openers can be a huge vulnerability, especially if you keep one in your car. If your garage is attached to your house, a thief could break into your vehicle to access the garage and walk into the rest of your home without tripping a single alarm. As such, you should think creatively about how a person might try to gain entry to your house, and ensure that every avenue is sealed tight.
Tuck Your Valuables Away
Leaving valuables where people can easily see them through the windows may increase your risk of a break-in. Criminals are far more likely to target a house where they can immediately see something worth stealing before they even try the door handle. If someone is looking for a place to rob, they don’t want to go on a treasure hunt for your valuables; they want to get in, get what they want, and go. To that end, always keep your electronics, jewelry, or other valuables out of sight from the windows, and be especially careful to put them away when you’re going to be out of the house. And you might consider getting renter’s insurance to help cover the possibility of theft.
Invest in Security Cameras
Installing security cameras around your property might sound like a big hassle. But in the modern era, setting up a few non-permanent cameras that can keep your home secure is easy. Setting up an indoor camera in your front window that faces the door is a great way to deter package theft or uninvited visitors. Rather than installing a permanent camera (which may violate your lease), look into freestanding or indoor cameras that require no installation. Many cameras offer wide-angle views, night vision, and other features to help ensure you catch any activity on your property at any time of day.
Keep Your Property Well-Lit
Criminals are far less likely to operate under a giant spotlight as they break your house’s window. As such, keeping your outdoor lighting in good repair can deter many potential crimes. If your property has motion-sensing cameras with lights that activate, be sure to test them regularly to make sure they’re functioning properly. Smart lighting and camera solutions can use video analytics to provide the first line of defense against property crime, and provide valuable evidence if necessary. You can also invest in switches indoors that will put your lights on a timer, to make it seem as if someone’s home even when you’re out of the house.
Press Pause on Your Posting
With a big trip coming up, we’re often eager to share our excitement on social media and share photos of the trip every day. However, posting about your vacation on social media is akin to rolling out the red carpet for thieves looking for vacant homes to rob. If your profile is public, anyone can find your socials and see you won’t be home. From there, all they have to do is pick a time and help themselves to your valuables.
However, you don’t have to refrain from posting about your idyllic vacation. Instead, wait until you’re back home to share your trip photos–and consider making your profile private.
Don’t Forget Your Vehicle
Portland car thefts and break-ins have risen during recent years. While security is on your mind, you might want to take a moment to make sure your vehicle is secure, too. For one, be mindful of where you park. Avoid parking in an isolated area where a thief could break into your car without being disturbed. In addition, never leave a bag or other valuables in plain sight in your vehicle, as they might entice a criminal to try and break in. You can also invest in anti-theft devices to lock or track your car to further discourage thieves.
Make It Look Like You’re Home
Another great way to discourage property crime is to try to hide the fact that you’re actually on vacation. Keeping your shades drawn and lights on a timer is a great way to make it seem like someone is occupying a house even when you’re gone. Another great option is to enlist your neighbor’s help in housesitting. They can gather your mail, take out your trash, and even park in your driveway to make it seem like someone is actively at home. This will discourage someone trawling for potential targets from getting your property in their sights.
Keep Your Home Secure All Year Round
These summer safety tips will help keep your home secure all summer long. Of course, keeping your home safe from crime is only one step in several crucial ways you can keep your property safe. From having an emergency plan to staying on top of seasonal maintenance, caring for your home is a big job–but worth the rewards. For more tips on keeping your property safe, secure, and in excellent shape, Rent Portland Homes is here to help.