Don't let summertime equal more crime

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Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 8:00 pm

(ARA) - You may be wishing for sandy beaches or a mountain getaway about now. As Americans make plans to escape for a few days this summer, criminals view these vacations as a season of opportunity.

Crime doesn't take a vacation. In fact, it surges during the summer. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports an overwhelming 10 percent increase in crime overall, with an 18 percent increase of home break-ins during the summer. So what can you do to protect your home? Here are a few quick and inexpensive tips to keep your family safe.

1. Install a first line of defense for your home

Most homes are targeted by a simple selection process. A burglar chooses a home with easy access, excellent cover and good escape routes. But they will usually bypass a home if it requires too much effort or poses too much risk, such as a home security system with audible siren or horn. Security systems can be pricey and invasive. However, Schlage's Alarmed Lock is an affordable first line of defense for your home. An alarm sounds the moment there is activity at the door. Specifically engineered to detect vibration and motion at first contact, this alarmed lock gives homeowners peace of mind right at the front or back door. For more information on Alarmed Lock, visit alarm.schlage.com.

2. Don't let your home be an easy target

Burglars are most likely to break in when it is clear a homeowner is away. Interior and exterior lighting is necessary to show signs of activity. Installing a system that allows you to control lighting while you're traveling is a great way to deter a break-in. Nexia Home Intelligence helps homeowners control not only their lights but also locks, video cameras, Trane ComfortLink II thermostat control, shades and more, all from a Web-enabled laptop, smartphone or tablet.

3. Get to know your neighbors

Neighbors can be your eyes and ears when you're not around. Agree to keep an eye on each others' homes. While on vacation, have them pick up mail, newspapers, packages and trash. Communicating with your neighbors is a simple way to prevent a burglar targeting your home due to inactivity. So don't be shy - they will appreciate the extra safety, too.

4. Get involved in anti-crime efforts

Beyond just getting to know your next-door neighbor, you can actually band together to protect the entire neighborhood in a more active way. As America's most trusted name in security, Schlage has teamed up with the Neighborhood Watch program to support their like-minded desire to protect America's neighborhoods. Schlage has donated 400 Alarmed Locks in a 40-city safety blitz to mark the Neighborhood Watch's 40th anniversary.

"Celebrating this way is just one of the ways to further remind citizens about the power of watch groups," says Chris Tutko, director of National Neighborhood Watch - USAonWatch and a former chief of police. "Thanks to Schlage for partnering with us to get the word out about home safety."

For more information on NSA programs and Neighborhood Watch visit www.usaonwatch.org and www.sheriffs.org.

5. Don't leave behind keys

It's tempting to leave keys behind for relatives or friends while you're out of town but that fake rock you bought doesn't fool anyone, especially the burglar. Leaving a hidden key is essentially extending an invitation to burglars. Don't be so hospitable. Install a keypad lock instead of the usual deadbolt, like Schlage's Electronic Keypad. This keyless device allows homeowners to use codes to get in and out. You can change the code multiple times to customize it for anyone who needs to stop by while you are out including contractors, delivery people, cleaning services and pet sitters. The Electronic Keypad is an inexpensive, simple to install solution to keeping your home safe.

Following these easy and affordable steps will give you peace of mind for you and your family during the warm summer months and allow you to truly leave your worries at the door while you are gone.

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