Home Security Systems Increase Safety in Every Season
season brings new challenges—learn the unique risks of winter, fall, spring,
You may not think of crime as having a seasonal component, but whether it’s time for April showers, long sunny days at the beach, weekend football games, or building snowmen, different security challenges crop up.
Crime peaks in the summer months when the empty homes of vacation-goers tempt opportunistic burglars. The winter holidays are another prime time for break-ins, when family calendars are jam-packed with festive outings and homes overflow with gifts and cash.
With fall’s colorful leaf displays come shorter days and more hours of darkness. Houses announce their emptiness as they sit un-lit until families arrive home from school and work. Winter weather can wreak havoc on outdoor security features if they aren’t rated to withstand freezing temperatures. And spring storms can cause power outages that impact security systems.
Let’s take a detailed look at the different security challenges that accompany each season and learn what you can do to protect your home and loved ones.
and wintry weather cause increased security risks
According to FBI statistics, December is one of the peak months for home burglaries. Andrea Bertozzi, a UCLA professor and expert on crime, explains that opportunities for break-ins are enhanced around the holidays by “packages left in cars parked in the driveway, presents left under trees in full view through a window, or deliveries left on the front porch.” With families out and about shopping for gifts, attending parties, and visiting family, situations like these can present easy pickings for burglars.
Even if you have external home security cameras installed, freezing temperatures, chill winds, and falling sleet and snow might prevent them from performing properly—if they’re not designed to withstand winter weather conditions.
storms also threaten your home’s safety and security
Although spring storms may be milder in temperature than winter’s icy blasts, they’re often accompanied by strong winds and hail that can damage your home's power lines, potentially rendering your home security system temporarily useless—unless your system has proper safeguards in place.
And once strong winds become gentle breezes, bird song fills the air, and the sun warms the cold ground, it can be tempting to leave windows open and doors unlocked as you’re coming and going more freely … and then forget to close them. From a home security standpoint, this is one of the worst things you can do. A study conducted by KTVB News in Boise, ID found that most burglars were able to easily enter the homes they robbed through unlocked doors or windows.
no summer vacation from the risk of home break-ins
Whether it’s because burglars dislike cold and ice as much as most people or because homes often sit empty while families take extended summer vacations, summer is prime time for burglaries in the United States. FBI statistics show that break-ins spike as much as 10% in June, July, and August.
And the same exterior security system components that are vulnerable to winter’s cold can be incapacitated by summer’s hottest days, if they’re not created to withstand heat waves, rain, and heavy humidity.
the time to prepare for reduced daylight and worsening weather conditions
As the trees lose their leaves, we also lose more light each day. Fall’s shorter days and longer nights highlight homes that are sitting unoccupied while family members attend school, finish up their workday, or undertake the commute home. And darkness makes a home a tempting target. The majority of burglars single out homes that appear empty, with over two-thirds of burglaries occurring in unoccupied homes.
Although fall isn’t typically a time of weather extremes, the cooling temperatures should be a reminder to prepare our homes, yards, and any security system components for the increased risks they may face throughout the rest of the year.
safety tips for your home security system
If you have a home security system, it pays to protect your investment by choosing the right components for the conditions and maintaining them properly. Whether the climate you live in is predominantly hot and dry, cool and wet, freezing cold, or changes drastically with the seasons, you need to be sure that all exterior security system components are designed for the conditions to which they will be exposed.
Smart locks and security cameras installed outside your home should be able to withstand temperature extremes as well as rain, ice, sleet, and snow if you live in a wintry climate.
Check all security system components in the spring and fall for signs of exterior damage (dents, broken pieces, cracks, etc.) and repair or replace them if necessary. You should also regularly clean your camera lenses by following manufacturer instructions to ensure that you always receive clear images.
With wireless security camera systems, you don’t need to worry about damage to exterior transmission cables or connectors, but you should check the camera’s power cords routinely to be sure they’re still in good shape. Fall is an excellent time to remove obstructions like bird or wasp nests from the vicinity of outdoor security cameras.
It’s also an ideal time to trim any tree branches that might break and damage your home’s power lines in case of high winds or ice accumulation. Without power, security cameras cannot function unless you have separate battery backups.
holiday safety tips for a carefree Yuletide season
During the festive holiday season, winter weather risks to our safety and security are joined by the increased risks of package theft, break-ins, fire, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Christmas tree fires, in particular, have proven deadly.
your home year-round with timeless safety steps and modern home security
Most commonsense safety steps work throughout the year, regardless of the weather or the season. And modern home security solutions are always smart additions when it comes to keeping your home and family secure. Let’s review some timeless safety tips and see how smart security system components enhance their effectiveness:
advertise an empty home
Be selective when sharing your plans. Whether you’ll be away from home for an evening Christmas party or a two-week summer vacation, don’t post your plans on social media. If burglars know that your home will be empty, they are more likely to break in. You may, however, want to alert a trusted friend or neighbor if you’ll be away for an extended period so that they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your property.
A friend or neighbor may also be willing to help your home appear occupied, even when it’s not. They could park in your driveway from time to time, shovel snow, get your mail so it doesn’t accumulate, turn radios, appliances, and lights off and on at certain times, or open and close your blinds and curtains in the morning and evening.
As we discussed earlier, locking your home’s doors and windows is one of the best (and easiest) ways to keep burglars from entering your home. You should also avoid giving out house keys that can get lost or hiding spare keys outside of your home. With smart door locks, you can give dog walkers and other service providers temporary security codes, remotely open the door for delivery personnel or contractors, and let yourself into your home without having to keep track of a key.
When at home, avoid opening the door to strangers; many home invasions start with a knock on the door. However, you don’t want to ignore a stranger at the door either, since burglars are more likely to break in if they think no one is at home.
Instead, speak to strangers through the door to identify them and let them know you’re not interested in whatever they have to offer, or use the two-way audio capabilities of a doorbell camera to converse safely and easily with unknown visitors—whether you are home or not! The motion sensors in these cameras will send you an alert if someone approaches the door, and you can quickly view and speak to a visitor from your smartphone.
burglars in the act, while keeping them in the dark about your home’s contents
To avoid tempting potential burglars, don’t place valuables, expensive electronics, or Christmas gifts where they can be seen through your home’s windows. Close your curtains and blinds when you’re away, and at night. And in case a burglar does gain access to your home, keep valuable items hidden and important personal papers under lock and key.
Since most burglars prefer to operate at times and places with a low risk of surveillance, proper exterior lighting can be an excellent deterrent to would-be thieves. Connecting your lights to a timer or motion detector works well, as does installing smart light bulbs for remote operation.
Motion detectors, intrusion sensors connected to an alarm system, and security cameras also have a high success rate when it comes to scaring away burglars. Installing a professionally monitored home security systems is one of the best measures you can take to ensure your safety and security. And if your security system has batteries for key components and uses a cellular signal to communicate with the monitoring service, you’ll be protected even if the power goes out or the phone lines go down.
By following basic security advice, purchasing and installing the right home security system and components for your climate, and performing routine maintenance tasks, you can expect your home to remain safe and secure 365 days a year. Bring on the change in seasons!
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