July and August are the top months for burglaries in the United States. Find out why, and what you can do to protect your home, your valuables and your family this summer.

Before you beat feet to beat the heat this summer, it’s important to secure your home against possible break-in. Family vacations, doors and windows thrown wide open to let in the breeze, and long days all contribute to making July and August the two most popular months for burglaries, according to the FBI.

Here are five easy ways to drop your chances for a summer break-in:

  1. Step up sliding door locks. A wooden dowel or metal rod in the track of your sliding glass door is a cheap, highly effective way to stop thieves from getting in. Get one for every slider, and get in the habit of using them. Make sure that sliders can’t be lifted off the track vertically, too.
  2. Lock windows. And if you are able to lock them in an opened position, be mindful of just how open you leave them. Nearly two-thirds of residential break-ins occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., when you’re away at work. That window you left open to the breeze is a prime target for any thief. Make sure windows are locked in place and not so open that a thief could reach right in and unlock a door. Older windows can be difficult to lock — and easy to jimmy open; replacement windows are worth the investment for the peace of mind alone.
  3. Close the garage. Summer is a great time for yard work, but don’t run off for lunch with the garage door wide open. Be sure to close the garage before jetting off or getting distracted indoors to prevent criminals from snatching tools, sporting equipment and whatever else you’ve got in there.
  4. Check on the doggy door. Big dogs make great security systems, but when they’re gone, big-dog pet doors make great points of entry — especially because they’re typically hidden in the backyard. Either invest in a pet door with security features or lock it up tight when you and the pooch are away.
  5. Use your community. Areas with an active neighborhood watch are 43 percent less likely to be targets of criminal activity. No watch program? Ask neighbors to keep an eye out and take in your newspaper. If you can’t wrangle that kind of support, have a friend or neighbor check in on your house or get a house sitter when you leave on vacation.

Take things a step further by beefing up all of your exterior doors with deadbolts and installing a home security system. Beat burglaries and the heat this summer, and have some carefree fun in the sun.

About the Guest Author:

Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. With an eye for design and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.