The official start of summer is one week away, but as the temperature rises, it’s also a hot time for home burglaries.

More home burglaries occur during the months of July and August than any other time of year for several reasons such as kids running in and out of the house more often and leaving doors unlocked, and extended family vacations. 

With a little awareness and preparation, you can keep your home and your loved ones safe from property predators this summer.

1. Keep the garage locked
Unlocked doors are an open invitation to enter your home. Most of the time, a garage offers access to your house and easily pawned items like bicycles or lawn equipment. Get in the habit of locking your door every time you go in and out, and keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up if there’s an automatic garage door opener inside of your vehicle.

2. Install a home security system
Add an extra layer of protection! Burglars go after easy targets and prefer homes that do not have a home security system. Secure your home with an alarm or put a security decal in your window or yard to decrease the chance of home burglary by as much as three times.

3. Remove window AC units
When a home does not have central air, owners will often use a window AC unit. It’s easy for burglars to enter your home by removing the AC unit, so be sure to secure the window with a dowel and remove the unit before going on vacation.

4. Ask for a neighbor’s help
Burglars look for tell-tale signs that a homeowner is on vacation such as an overflowing mailbox or a garbage can that’s been left on the curb. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home and take care of your mail, garbage, and things like flyers that may be left on your doorstep. You could also consider having your mail held and putting your lights on a timer.

5. Don’t hide keys outside
Many of us know better than to hide a spare key under the front mat or other obvious locations, but instead of hiding a key outside, give it to a trusted neighbor or family member that you can call when you lock yourself out or in case of emergency.

6. Keep your travel plans on the down low
We all get excited about our summer vacation plans but be careful to not share that you’re leaving town on your social media pages or with strangers. Share photos when you’re back in town!

7. Use the exterior to your benefit
Trim shrubs so that they don’t block windows and doors and hide a burglar’s activity. Consider adding deterrents like blackberry bushes or rose bushes to fences where burglars might try to access your house and make sure that your home is well-lit.