It’s summer in Michigan, and that means more families are going on vacation — whether up north for the weekend or traveling out of state. As the temperature rises and the number of vacations increases in the summer, so does the number of home invasions.
Studies show that break-ins spike between June and August. The likelihood of experiencing a burglary is even higher for renters. While home security systems may reduce break-ins, they cannot entirely prevent them from happening.
The Romulus Police Department has put together the following tips for renters and homeowners to reduce stress related to the security of their property and spend more time relaxing during summer vacations.
When going away:
• Let a trusted family member or neighbor know you are going on vacation and ask that they keep an eye on your home, reporting any suspicious activity to the police. Many times, the homeowner and burglary suspect have some sort of acquaintance and the suspect may have even been inside the home before. Don’t advertise to the neighborhood that you are leaving. Make sure to tell the person watching your house if you expect any visitors while away. If you are planning an extended vacation, ask the person watching your home to move vehicles to create the appearance that someone is home.
• Put interior lights, radios and televisions on timers. The intermittent lighting from television is a strong indicator that someone is home. Leave the television or radio on to make it sound as if there are people home.
• While it can be tempting, avoid posting photos and videos on social media that advertise you are away from home. Wait until returning home to share on social media or check privacy settings to limit who can see posts.
• Make sure all doors and windows are locked and use a security bar for sliding doors or windows. More than 80% of home robberies begin on the first floor.
• Install exterior motion lights around your home to act as deterrents.
• Upkeeping the landscaping on your property not only looks nice, but it can also prevent burglars from targeting your home. Keep shrubbery trimmed around your home’s exterior, especially by windows, to prevent intruders from hiding behind them. If you plan on taking a longer vacation, hire or ask someone to regularly cut and trim your lawn.
When on vacation, families shouldn’t have to spend time worrying about the safety of their home when they should be making memories. Precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of burglary while away from home for an extended period. Save and implement these easy-to-follow tips and make your next vacation more worry-free.
Robert Pfannes is the Romulus police chief.