NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With temperatures up and school out, homeowners and renters just want to kick back and enjoy summer -- which sometimes means taking undue risk with their home and possessions.
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that violent crime and home break-ins rise in the summer months with the heat, school breaks and as more Americans leave their homes to go on vacation.
Not for nothing, but way too many Americans don't secure their homes properly (although they do lock their doors) in the summer -- in fact, 44% of North Americans fall short, according to Master Lock, a Milwaukee security firm.
"Safety starts and ends at home," says Rebecca Smith, a spokeswoman for Master Lock. "There's no better time to incorporate safe practices into your family's routine to ensure a safe and memorable summer."
To best secure your home, here are a few tips for U.S households:
Keep all doors and windows locked. Yes, it's a no-brainer. But thieves look for the easiest entry points to homes, and you can't beat an unlocked door or window for easy access.
Go for specialty locks. If there is one device to keep criminals from breaking into your home, it's a specialty lock. Add some motion sensors to your home's entryways and thieves will likely keep right on going -- away from your house.
Meet with your neighbors. Police highly recommend keeping a watchful eye on your neighborhood and reporting any suspicious activity. Don't confront a potentially armed thief, however. Instead, call 911 immediately.