In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice published a report that identified a recurring pattern in the number of home burglaries that occurred throughout the year. From 1993 to 2010, national crime statistics showed that the rates of home burglaries rose and fell at the same time(s) each year.
“For household property crimes [our] data indicates that there are seasonal patterns in household burglary and larceny, with higher rates in the summer and lower rates during other seasons of the year.” (Seasonal Patterns in Criminal
Victimization Trends, June 2014 U.S. Department of Justice|Office of Justice Programs|Bureau of Justice Statistics)
On average, the research found that throughout the country, household burglary rates were approximately 11% lower in winter then they were during the summer months.
‘V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N’ Spells Opportunity for Thieves
During the months of June, July and August, a combination of several factors – unique to the season – often create the ‘perfect storm’ of conditions that can give criminals both more opportunities and easier access to your home.
After months of cold weather, comfortable outdoor temperatures allow homeowners to open windows and doors to allow fresh air into the house. At the same time, whether it’s a short trip to the supermarket, a day at the water park or an overnight camping trip, many people forget to lock their doors and windows before they leave.
News Flash: Burglars usually don’t ‘look’ like burglars
More than anything else, burglars do not want to draw attention to themselves. Breaking windows, doors or being seen carrying tools to do so, would only cause a commotion and raise suspicions among neighbors.
Burglars are on the lookout for homes that offer easy access and a low risk of being noticed or confronted by anyone – or anything.
Here are few important steps that you can take to protect your home and keep thieves from targeting your house while you and your family are enjoying a much-needed vacation here in Maine or elsewhere this summer.
- Always lock doors and windows before leaving the house
- Stop mail/newspaper delivery or have a neighbor collect it
- Don’t schedule deliveries while you are away
- Don’t advertise. Save the social media status posts until you return home!
- Consider using automatic timers for interior lights
- Keep lawn mowed
- Double lock sliding doors
- Remove remote garage door openers from vehicles left in driveway
- Consider installing security / surveillance cameras
For more tips on how to create your own pre-vacation home security checklist, check out this informative blog post from SimpliSafe® security systems.
Surprisingly, the reality of exactly how, when and where a criminal enters a home is much different from what most picture in their minds.
Far from the stealthy, nocturnal activities of the ‘cat burglars’ often portrayed in movies and books, the most common time for a burglary to occur is between 10am and 3pm.
Ironically, ‘breaking into’ a home typically requires little-to-no ‘breaking’ of anything at all. Most burglars will first try to walk right through the (unlocked) front door. If not the front door, a window or door located in the back of the house is the next best thing for someone looking to access the home without drawing too much attention.
Thieves act quickly. They want to walk in, grab what can be easily carried and easily sold or exchanged for drugs or money (electronics, gold & silver, guns, jewelry, cash) and leave. The average home robbery lasts only 8-12 minutes.
A little neighborly advice to protect your home
Aside from locks and the activities mentioned above, law enforcement professionals will say that one of the most effective theft deterrents and ways to protect your home is a nosy neighbor – or a barking dog. In other words, an active neighborhood where people regularly interact and get to know one another is less likely to be targeted by a thief.
For years, organizations such as the National Crime Prevention Council have advocated for the creation of Neighborhood Watch groups as a way for residents, whole communities and local law enforcement to work together and deter crime.
Before leaving for an extended vacation this summer, have a conversation with at least one neighbor or friend who can keep an eye on your home while you’re gone – and offer to do the same for them.
If something or someone seems to be out of place, ask them to contact law enforcement to check it out. It may turn out to be nothing, or it may just catch a thief in the act – and prevent him/her from stealing from anyone else in the neighborhood too.
After all, it takes a village to keep a village safe, right?