Summer Home Safety TipsAre you moving into a new home in Maplewood, South Orange or any of our surrounding communities this summer? Congratulations! The summer season is a great time to explore a new neighborhood and make your house feel like a home. Unfortunately, summer is also the top season for home burglaries. While you’re getting settled, be sure to use these home safety tips to make your beautiful new home less of a target to potential criminals. These tips are also appropriate if you’ve been living in your home for many years.

Install a home security system

If your new home didn’t already have a security system when you moved in, now is the time to install one. There are so many types of security systems available at many different price points. You can opt for a set of surveillance cameras that you install and monitor yourself, or choose a system that includes remote monitoring by a third party. The most important thing to remember with a home security system is that it doesn’t help you if you don’t set the alarm. Always be sure the system is engaged when you leave the house.

Secure the garage

Burglars will look for the easiest point of entry to your home, which is often the garage. Always keep your garage door locked, and use a quality, heavy-duty lock.

Keep the yard tidy

Overgrown bushes, trees, and shrubs can provide easy cover for criminals. Keep your yard tidy so there are fewer places for burglars to hide. Install motion lights or other outdoor lights so there are no patches of darkness.

Don’t leave valuables outside

If you’re working in the yard, it may be tempting to leave your garden tools out until you’ve completed your job. But leaving valuable items in the yard is an invitation to criminals and it makes their jobs easy. The same is true for kids with their bikes and toys. Always put your valuable items away when you’re done using them for the day.

Don’t keep keys outside

You may think you’re being sneaky by hiding a key under the doormat, but that’s the first place any criminal is going to look. The same is true for those rocks, sprinkler heads, and other clever devices that are meant to hide keys. Criminals shop in stores, too, and know to look for them. If you’re worried about getting locked out, then leave a key with a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member.

Shut the windows

Though it may be tempting to open the windows and keep them open on a beautiful day, don’t. Even if you think you’ll only be gone for a few minutes, always close and lock all windows when you leave the house.

Don’t broadcast your plans

Are you taking a vacation this summer? While it’s tempting to talk about it on social media, you should keep it under wraps. Don’t advertise to potential criminals that your house will be empty during your vacation. Wait until you’re safely back at home to share the details of your amazing trip.

Enlist help from neighbors

Neighbors can be your first line of defense when it comes to break-ins. When you move in, introduce yourself to your neighbors. If you’re going to be out of town for any length of time, let them know. Tell them you’ll keep an eye on their house when they’re away, and ask if they’ll keep an eye on yours.

Hold your mail and newspapers

A pile of unopened mail and newspapers at the end of your driveway announces to a would-be burglar that you are not home. Before you go out of town, contact your local post office to have them hold your mail. You can even do it online at And call your newspaper service to stop delivery until you return.

Trick potential intruders

Make it look like someone’s home when you’re out having fun. Here are some ways to outsmart a potential burglar:

  • Time lights and electronics. You can time your lights, television, and other electronics to turn on and off throughout the day so it looks as if someone’s home. Avoid leaving your lights on the entire time you are gone.
  • Hire a landscaper. If you’re going to be out of town for a week or more, hire someone to mow your lawn. You want it to look like someone’s around and doing the yard work.
  • Have a neighbor park out front. Ask a trustworthy neighbor to park a car in front of your house to make it look like someone’s home.

If you follow these home safety tips and take precautions to make your house less of a target, you can relax and enjoy all this area has to offer.


The Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group is a top producing real estate group based at Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct in Maplewood, NJ. Allison Ziefert, a local market expert, specializes in Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn/Short Hills and West Orange, NJ real estate and homes, and the surrounding towns. Allison’s success as a Maplewood/South Orange realtor is driven by earning great testimonials from sellers and buyers of homes in her marketplace. You can read the testimonials at