Burglaries peak in summer: Is your home secure?

Long days, moonlit nights and endless opportunities for adventure are probably causing you to daydream about travel. Whether you're planning a day trip or a month-long extravaganza, summer is full of opportunity for you. But what about your empty house while you're away?

Unfortunately summer months are also peak periods for home burglaries. Seasonal patterns exist in household burglary rates, according the U.S. Department of Justice, with these crimes happening more frequently in the summer than during other seasons of the year because people are traveling more and are away from their homes.

Planning your next weekend at the cabin doesn't have to involve worry about a break-in back home. Give yourself peace of mind no matter where you are by taking a few proactive steps to protect your home today.

Step 1: A smart home is a secure home

Law enforcement agencies agree that one of the best ways to protect a home is with a security system. Something as simple as a sign noting an alarm system is onsite can be enough to deter a potential theft. Closing and locking all doors (including dead bolts) and then setting an alarm dramatically decreases burglary odds.

Smart home technology is creating greater innovation in home security, with systems like Iris by Lowe’s allowing homeowners to create a do-it-yourself, tailored system that's not only convenient but effective security. This affordable system features more than 100 compatible devices that include security cameras, motion sensors, smart locks, adjustable light bulbs, connected thermostats, smoke alarms and more.

For an even more secure home, Iris now offers professional home monitoring for less than $15 a month. The service gives homeowners the ability to have emergency responders dispatched to their homes in the event of a security, smoke, carbon monoxide or panic alarm, with no long-term contract required. Whether you're at work or across the country, you can rest easy knowing someone will respond quickly to any home emergency.

Step 2: Avoid signs that show your home is vacant

An empty home is an easy target for break-ins. It can be pretty obvious when homeowners are away, especially if they've been gone for a while. But with a mix of simple steps and effective technology, you can give your house a “lived-in” feel, even when you’re miles away.

Stop your mail and newspaper delivery when traveling, or ask a neighbor to gather these items for you so they don't accumulate on your property. Have someone come and tidy your yard and water plants so everything appears tended to. Use your Iris smart home system to set lights to turn on and off throughout the day. You may even ask a neighbor to periodically park in your driveway to give the impression people are coming and going.

Keep in mind social media has become a rich resource for criminals. Keep profile settings to private and never post photos or other messages on social media about your vacation while still away. Travel posts are like news alerts that your home is empty. It's best to wait until you return before sharing those precious images with friends and family.

Step 3: Rid your property of hiding spots and easy points of entry

Homes with lots of overgrowth and natural coverage provide hiding spots that make break-ins simpler. That means now is the time to trim bushes, hedges and trees, especially around entrance points in the home.

Next, look for vulnerable areas of your house. For example, the garage door may be easier to open than you think. Consider using a C-clamp on garage doors while gone or integrating a smart garage controller so you can keep tabs on whether it's opened or closed from your smartphone.

Windows are another common way for burglars to enter a home. Hot summer months often mean cracked windows, so double check all are closed and locked. With a smart home system like Iris, you can even check on this remotely and get notified if a window is opened or broken. If you have a window air conditioning unit, you may want to install window frame locks to prevent a criminal from pushing out the unit and entering the home.

Summer should be a time of relaxation instead of worry. These three steps can help you be smart about securing your home so you can actually enjoy that vacation.

Visit MyIrisSecurity.com or your local Lowe’s or to learn more about installing Iris in your home today.

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