The month of May brings warmer weather and a hint of the coming rest and relaxation many people enjoy during summer months. Unfortunately, warmer weather often brings an increase in all types of crime.
Many studies have confirmed what police officers, emergency room doctors and news reporters have claimed for years: as temperatures increase, so does the crime rate. So as you plan your summer getaway, you should also plan your strategy for protecting your home, car and personal safety.
Investigators say burglaries, robberies and vandalism may increase in the summer simply because people let their guards down. Other reasons could include schools’ summer break, which leads to more teenagers having unsupervised free time.
Other studies blame the increase on opportunity: more people gather together for outdoor concerts and festivals. People clustered in large groups are more vulnerable to muggers and pickpockets, who make an easy getaway by blending into the crowd.
Whether you are preparing for an extended summer vacation or just a day at the beach, include these precautions to protect your home and your family.
- Make sure a close relative or trusted neighbor knows your travel plans so they can pick up your mail and keep an eye on your house.
- Stay off social media. Do not “check in” to locations or post photos while you are away.
- Do not leave tools lying around outside your home. Ladders can be used to access second floor windows and hammers and screwdrivers can be used to break in.
- Make it look like you’re at home, even when you are away. Install timers on a few inside lights and motion-activated lights outside entryways, and leave a car parked in the driveway.
- Consider investing in a home security system. Check your homeowner's insurance coverage. Some policies offer discounts for installing an alarm system.
- If you are spending time in an isolated part of your home or yard, be sure to lock your front doors and close garage doors in order to discourage crimes of opportunity.
- Always lock car doors, and store valuables out of sight. Park in well-lighted areas and travel in groups to and from parking lots.
- Lighten your load: when you visit any crowded area, carry as little cash and as few credit cards as possible. Don’t leave car keys or other valuables lying around – thieves know to look inside those shoes you left on your beach towel.
For more personal and home safety tips, check out the websites of your local police station or city government. Worrying about crime prevention may be the last thing on your mind as you leave for your summer vacation destination. But a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring rest and relaxation when you get there.