A front door with smashed glass

Summertime is also Break-in Time

We all want to get away for vacation and when we do, we don’t want to be worrying if someone is breaking into our residence. But being worried about a break-in is a reasonable concern as the FBI’s crime data paints the following picture:

  • July and August are the most popular months for break-ins (thieves like warmer weather too)
  • The hours in which most break-ins occur is between 10 am and 3 pm (I’d like to work just those hours too)
  • The most common entry point is the front door. Next most common is a window, followed by a back door.

There are a number of ways to deter or delay a thief from getting into your home. The IWFA recommends a layered approach, so you are not dependent on only one measure to reduce the chances of a break-in. Timers on lamps can be helpful to give the appearance of someone at home. Even a radio or TV set on a timer may help. All of your entry points, first floor windows (even second floor), all doors and garage doors should be securely locked and even bolted if possible.

A pile of mail, packages and newspapers at the front door are a dead give away that no one is home. Arrange to have your mail and news delivery stopped or handled by a neighbor or friend to reduce the chance that your home will be singled out for a break-in. Let a trusted neighbor know that you are away and ask if they will periodically check to see that the home remains secure and nothing appears out of the ordinary. Make sure they have your away-from-home phone number so they can reach you if necessary.

Thieves come equipped with their own tools such as a pry bar, screwdriver and a hammer. An easy way to get around a locked door is to smash a glass sidelight next to the door and then reach in to turn the door handle and gain entrance. The same technique can be applied to a first floor or basement window. The glass is smashed, the lock is open and the thief is inside in under a minute.

Before heading off on vacation, the IWFA recommends that you walk around your residence and look for areas that appear as easy entry points for a burglar. If it’s a window of any type, have security window film installed. Some security window films can be anchored to the windowsill making it difficult for a thief to push a window in. Consider having security window film installed around any sidelights surrounding a door.

While security window film may not completely prevent a determined thief from getting in, it is likely to slow them down. Spending time to gain entrance is the one thing that a thief wants to avoid. If they find out a home has security window film on the glass, they may wonder what other deterrents await them inside, such as an alarm, and then move along to a less well protected home.

You may be more relaxed while you are away if you take a few precautions ahead of your vacation time to improve the security of your residence.