Crime – On the Rise in the Heat of Summer, Tips to Stay Safe

Summer is officially underway, and in Laurel, MS authorities have already iStock_000068527987_Large-2-300x200warned residents of the increase in crime rates over summer months.  Local police say crime begins to rise along with the temperatures, and that it happens every year.  Most of the crimes are vandalism and property crimes such as vehicle and residential burglaries, but Mississippi isn’t alone.  It seems that across the nation, crime increases as temperatures heat up.

We discussed the possible reasons for this in a recent article – kids are out of school, people are out and about more, social events are more prevalent during summer months, even the fact that the heat can make some people extremely agitated or aggressive.  Whatever the reason, it’s a fact – summer is when we see an increase in crime.

In Michigan, property crimes do typically increase during the warmer months, but so do other types of crimes – in particular, domestic violence.  Other types of assault also rise in summer, however the instances of domestic violence are higher during summer than any other season of the year according to a government study and notice of this unfortunate trend by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Property crimes such as vehicle larceny, theft of bicycles, lawnmowers, and other items typically left outdoors, and home theft are particularly troublesome during summer months in Michigan.  Whether you live in Lansing, Ann Arbor, Detroit, or any city in the state, there are some precautions you can take to ensure you’re not a victim of a property crime this season.

Stay safe – tips

How can you keep items inside your vehicle safe from theft?  First and foremost, if there are valuables inside your car that can be left at home, remove them.  If you’re taking valuables with you to another location, remove them from your vehicle as soon as you arrive.  If there is some reason you can’t immediately remove valuables from you vehicle, put them in the trunk so they’re out of view.

Another simple tip – lock your vehicle.  Never leave your car unlocked with valuables inside.  Also, make sure your doors and windows are closed so potential thieves don’t have easy access.  Some of the most common things stolen from inside vehicles include CD’s, laptops, cameras, money, luggage, car stereos, cell phones, even mail.

Where to park your vehicle in order to reduce the possibility of theft

When possible, always park in a well-lit area where your vehicle is clearly visible.  Try to avoid all-day parking areas that are unattended.  When at home, if you have a garage use it – and lock it!

Prevent stolen items from your yard

Bicycles, lawnmowers, tools, ATV’s, and other property should be secure from thieves.  If you have a storage shed or garage, put these items inside.

To give thieves fewer places to hide, keep hedges and shrubs trimmed/cut to a height of three feet or less.  Also, consider a chain link fence rather than a solid fence so neighbors can keep an eye on your property if you’re away.

Outdoor lighting and motion detector lights are great for deterring criminals.

Prevent residential burglary or theft

Summer is when lots of families go on vacation or spend a weekend camping.  While you’re away, be sure have your newspapers and mail picked up – a week’s worth of newspapers in the driveway is a sure sign no one’s at home.

Inside, use timers to control lights so that lights are on at the times they would normally be on if you were at home.  If you can afford it, have a security system installed – and use signage alerting criminals of the system.  Most thieves will not attempt to break into a home with a security system.

It’s an unfortunate fact that crime rates do increase during the season that many of us look forward to more than any other of the year.  Thankfully, there are many things you can do to prevent becoming a victim.