Marla Martin, Communications Manager, or Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications 407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314

Florida Realtors® Advises Homeowners to Take Summertime Safety Precautions


ORLANDO, Fla., June 28, 2011 -- Many families across Florida and the rest of the nation will spend the Fourth of July holiday away from home, basking on the state’s beautiful beaches, traveling to see relatives or maybe just visiting friends for a backyard barbecue.

To fully enjoy those activities and other summertime pursuits spent away from home, Florida Realtors® suggests that homeowners take precautions to safeguard their residences when they’re not around. Crime rates across the country often start to peak as temperatures rise during warm weather months – the same time that many families leave their homes unoccupied and unprotected.

“A home is the biggest financial investment that most people will make in their lifetimes, but it is also the place where they raise their families, build memories and share their dreams for the future,” says Florida Realtors® 2011 President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “It just makes sense to take steps to protect something so priceless.”

Homeowners can take these simple precautions to make their homes less of a target for criminals:

No “Home Alone”: Before leaving your home during the day, make it look as if someone is still at home by using timers on lights in various rooms. Even though daylight hours are longer during the summer, it may still get dark faster than you expect or you may return home later than anticipated, and taking this step ensures that your home appears occupied at all times.

No Open Door Policy: Ensure that all doors leading to the home and garage are locked, even when leaving for short periods of time. The typical burglary takes less than five minutes, and unlocked doors, combined with an empty home, put out the “welcome mat” for crime.

Someone to Watch Over Me: Be landscape smart. Shrubbery and other plants can grow very rapidly during the warm, wet summer months, so keep them trimmed to allow your neighbors to keep an eye on your home. Also, an unkempt yard could be viewed as a sign of an empty home to a burglar.

A Key Reminder: When leaving home, take your house keys along or leave a spare set with a trusted neighbor. Never leave a key under a welcome mat, in a mailbox or other hiding spots – most burglars know where to look.

Crime Doesn’t Take a Vacation: If you’re planning to be away from home on vacation for more than a day or two, ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway and pick up your mail and newspapers – or be sure to make arrangemevnts to cancel the paper and hold the mail. Disable your garage door opener and manually lock it from the inside, and don’t forget to check that the door leading from the garage to the home is locked, too.

Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 64 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

© 2010 Florida Realtors®
Florida's largest professional trade association