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It’s July- almost Independence Day: Time for barbecues, baseball games, burglaries, carnivals, concerts, fairs, family reunions, fireworks, parades, picnics, and political speeches and ceremonies. Okay, burglaries may seem out of place but it is statistically a sad side effect of summer … especially holidays. Thieves are looking for empty homes. Empty home = easy target. Burglars don’t take day offs.

Two important ideas to keep in mind are to make your home look like it’s not empty, and make sure you are connected to your home so that you can monitor and protect while away. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping burglars away and your possessions safe:

What To Do Before Heading Out

Before you head out to celebrate, there are a few things you should do to help protect your home.

Check window and door locks.

This is essential. Most burglars do not want trouble, so they first try to enter using the doors or windows without breaking any glass. They may try to tamper with or pick the door locks. Always double-check before you leave.

Better yet, with Anet Interactive, you never have to worry about whether you locked the doors. You can arm your system and check the status right from your smart phone.

Though checking your locks before you leave is a good first step, try to think safety beyond the 4th. You may want to add more locks to reinforce the existing ones, or if your locks are already old, you might want to consider replacing them. Finally, smart locks are becoming commonplace. Smart locks are Wi-Fi connected locks that cannot be picked like traditional locks. Smart locks use knowledge-based authentication like PIN codes set by the owner. Some smart locks notify you if someone tries to tamper with the lock in any way.

Don’t brag about leaving.

We know that you are excited for the vacation you probably planned for a year, but don’t brag. The more people you tell, the more you put yourself at risk. Keep your plans on the D.L. and don’t volunteer yourself as a potential victim. You can brag about your vacation after, not before.

Ask someone you trust to collect your mail.

Newspapers piled in your yard? This is a clear sign that you are away and a clue to burglars. Ask someone you trust to collect them for you. You can ask a trusted neighbor, a friend, or a relative. As an alternative, you can ask your newspaper delivery person to skip your house for a few days until you come back. You can also ask the post office to hold your mail.

Get a home security system.

Owning a home security system is important all the time, not just on the 4th. A home security system keeps your home safe from many dangers including intruders, fires, and medical emergencies. If you already own a system, it’s a good idea to give our Monitoring Response Center a call to test it before you leave to make sure that everything is working properly.

Cheap is not always better. Avoid getting a home security system from companies that offer too good to be true prices. Chances are, there’s a catch. It might be lousy service or equipment, and higher equipment fees.

Get a little techie.

The future is here. A connected home can do more than just automate your house. It can make your home more secure by making it look occupied while you are away. You can make your home look occupied by installing connected lighting or smart blinds that can be controlled remotely wherever you are. Flipping your light on from 300 miles away will definitely make your home look occupied.

You might ask, “Why spend money on smart home products if I can simply leave the lights and the TV on while I’m away?” Think of it like this, leaving your lights and the TV on puts a toll on your power consumption. Also, leaving them on 24/7 would look a little unnatural and the goal is to make your home look lived in not just lit-up.

Enjoy Your 4th of July!

Benjamin Franklin once said,” By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Celebrate. Have fun. Stay safe. Be a wise homeowner by taking the mentioned precautions to keep your home safe. There’s nothing better than peace of mind. Happy Independence Day!