August 17, 2016 7:00 am
Updated: August 24, 2016 2:39 pm

How to protect your home from intruders over the summer


It’s easy to let down your guard with home security while you’re out enjoying the sun and some summer fun. Because the warmer months are known to be a busy time for home break-ins, we spoke with BCAA about what you can do to prevent a worst-case scenario.

Gaining access to your home

Open doors and windows are easy entrances for burglars. The Vancouver Police Department says one-in-three break-and-enters occur because doors are unlocked – even when people are at home.

“Burglars target unoccupied homes that provide easy access to the house and low visibility,” says Brooke Moss, BCAA Director of Product Development.

“These situations are most common during the summer as people are away on vacation or leaving exterior doors, windows, patio entrances and sheds unlocked or open due to warmer weather and increased activity around the house.”

That includes side doors and windows – they’re the places thieves check first, according to BCAA. Moss adds that most intruders gain access to homes through garage doors or unlocked side doors and windows because they’re often forgotten about when homeowners lock up.

What thieves want

When it comes to what thieves are stealing, BCAA says they typically look for items that are lightweight, portable, and high-value, including:

  • Computers and laptops
  • Jewellery
  • Watches
  • Digital cameras
  • Gift cards
  • Bikes and sporting equipment
  • Barbeques
  • Lawnmowers

Something many don’t consider are outdoor sheds and storage containers that store high-value tools, like power tools and lawn mowers.

What you can do

BCAA suggests doing a few easy things will help protect your home:

  • Don’t publicize your vacation plans on social media: You never know who’s following your tweets or Instagram posts, so don’t give them any fancy ideas to break-in while you’re away. Keep your vacation photos offline until you’re home safe and sound.
  • Watch where you keep your keys and your garage door openers: It’s not just keys hidden under doormats; thieves know to check the inside of your car for garage door openers, which can give them access to your home. If you’re going away, take the openers out of your car and avoid leaving your spare key in an obvious place.
  • Use a home alarm system and keep your exterior lit: Set up an alarm system that alerts an outside service to call the police or emergency services if you’re not home. Install motion detector lights around your home to scare off intruders, and put them out of reach so they can’t be destroyed.
  • Set up a neighbourhood Block Watch or check to see if you already have one: According to Vancouver Police, Block Watch programs can reduce break-ins by over 42 per cent. (Learn more about the Block Watch)
  • Insure your belongings. BCAA suggest you assess the value of your possessions so you know how much it will cost if you need to replace anything. Take a photo of the item and label it along with its estimated value, and try to save receipts as well. Also, talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have the right coverage for items like jewellery and computers – they often require extra coverage.

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