The home is a sanctuary for your family, and there is nothing more unnerving that realizing that your home has been broken into. According to the FBI, there were over 2 million burglaries in 2010 – a decrease of 2 percent when compared to the year before – and although crime is a serious concern, our homes and neighborhoods are safer than ever before – much in part to awareness and the preventative steps we are taking.
Still, summer is a season when homes are burglarize the most. The weather is nice and many families go on vacation. Additionally, because people are in and out of the homes more frequently – for strolls or a quick errand – they often get lax in securing their home.
Here are a few things to remember this summer to keep your home belongings and family safe:
Never allow strangers in your home, even if they look hurt or in distress.
Most contractors, such as HVAC or pool companies, will wear uniforms and/or show up in a company vehicle. If they are a smaller firm where their employees don’t have those items, they will present you with a business card and notify you ahead of time of what to expect when they show up to your home for the pre-scheduled appointment.
When you go for a walk or leave your home for a quick errand, take the time to secure your home. Lock your doors, put your garage door down and close and lock any sliding doors or windows that can easily be entered.
When you leave for vacation, make sure you tell a trusted neighbor. Ask them to pick up your mail, paper and other items that can make an unscrupulous person quickly see that you are away. Put your lights on timers so your homes looks lived in.
Invest in a safe to store valuable items such as jewelry and important documents. You may also want to consider buying one that is flood and fire proof.
One of your homes easiest entry points is the garage. Keep your garage door closed at all times and lock the door that leads from the garage into your home.
Don’t leave ladders and tools unsecured outside. These items can be used to gain access to your home.
Look at your shrubbery around your first-floor windows, and if you don’t have any, you may want to plant a few. They can deter a robber from entering your home – especially if they are thorny.
This summer, relax and enjoy the warm days, but also realize that break-ins can be avoided when you take some precautions. Get more home and neighborhood safety resources by visiting the National Crime Prevention Council’s website.
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and across the country, families and friends will gather to cook out, enjoy the warmer weather and visit with each other.
Grilling is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Not only does it make for easy meal prep, but it also keeps the home cooler during the warm summer months. But the grill can also be dangerous, so keep these cookout safety tips in mind this summer.
Before you begin grilling for the summer, check the propane tank to make sure it is properly connected.
If using a charcoal grill, make sure that the lighter fluid and matches are stored in a safe place after the coals are lit.
Move the grill away from the side of your home and deck railing. The heat from the grill can melt vinyl siding and could also cause a fire. Additionally, never use a charcoal or propane grill indoors or in enclosed garages or patios.
Place your grill on a flat surface so it is stable and can’t be tipped over.
Keep children and pets away from the grill. It is natural for everyone to congregate around the chef while he is cooking the burgers and hot dogs, but make sure that everyone keeps a safe distance away from the grill so they don’t get burnt.
Don’t wear loose clothing around a grill.
Another favorite pastime in Lancaster County is gathering around the fire pit during the evenings. The kids toast marshmallows while the adults share stories and plans for summer vacations. Open fires can also be dangerous, so please keep these safety tips in mind:
Observe “burn warnings” in your area. Townships will post notices when it is too dry or windy to burn.
Build your fire pit in an open area – away from dry grass, leaves and overhanging trees. You don’t want windborne embers catching things on fire.
It is better to keep your fire small so it stays controlled – just a few logs at a time.
Keep a bucket of water and a shovel close to the fire, just in case. These will also be handy when you are ready to extinguish the fire for the evening.
Never leave fire pits unattended.
When you are ready to call it a night, take extra care to make sure the fire is completely out before heading indoors.
Read more of our blog articles for home tips and inspiration.