WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - As temperatures rise so do the number of home burglaries. The F.B.I says crime rates peak in June, July and August - which is why Texoma homeowners need to be one step ahead of the criminals.
Reports show home burglary rates increase 10% in the summer and the main reason is opportunity. In the warm weather more people are out and about and on vacation and are more apt to leave windows, doors and garages open or unlocked.
Law enforcement officials say we are the first line of defense when it comes to avoiding home burglaries.
"A lot of crimes are crimes of opportunity. The criminal can have all the desire they want they can have the ability to do the crime but if we take the opportunity away they won't be able to do it."
Experts say there are many reasons for the summer crime increase. In warmer weather people tend to keep their homes open and are more likely to leave their houses unoccupied.
"Keep your doors and windows locked. Keep your gates locked and make sure your garage door is down. A lot of people don't realize it but when that garage door stays up the door that goes from your garage to the house becomes your exterior door and many people keep that door unlocked."
They advise treating that door as an exterior door because technically it is and make sure the deadbolt is locked.
A vacant house is an opportunity so never let people know you're not home.
"Make sure that if you're going to be away you tell a trusted friend or relative that you're going to be gone. Somebody who can check on your house, pick up your mail or mow your lawn if you're going to be gone for an extended period of time."
Leave the TV on, put lights on a timer and don't leave lawn equipment out. If you don't have an alarm system - experts say you may want to get one.
Vacation-goers who live in Wichita Falls can get a little extra help keeping their homes secure from law enforcement.
"Our sentinels are able to check on houses for folks that are out of town for long periods of time or even short periods of time. It also goes to our patrol officers and their briefing books. So they know to check on certain houses if they're out and about. But part of our sentinels job is to check on houses on that vacation list and they look for anything that's odd."
By taking just a few precautions under the hot summer sun - Texoma homeowners can make home safety priority number one.