Nothing says “welcome home” like getting your front door kicked in and house burglarized. That’s exactly what happened to our family almost two years ago to the day.

It’s a bit ironic. I’ve been reviewing smart home security gadgets for more than a decade. But we didn’t have anything set up to protect our own house because we had only recently purchased it (our first home!) and hadn’t finished moving in. It was early July, peak summer break-in season, and even though we had a “don’t bother tenant” sign stuck on the front door to “trick” would-be bad guys, our mostly empty, just-bought house apparently stood out like a $100 bill in a penny jar. 

The real cost of break-ins

Because we were mid-move, the robbers mainly got away with some construction tools. But the real hit was to our sense of security. 

“In some ways, that’s even harder to deal with than the actual loss of ‘things’ for a lot of people,” says Rebecca Edwards, lead safety reporter for safe, a site that studies crime and safety trends and reviews home security systems. “The emotional toll of a break-in is huge. When someone forces their way into your house, it’s a violation of the sanctuary you call home.” 

Summertime’s rise in crime

On average, burglaries rise about 10% between June and August, and this summer, that number could go even higher as more Americans catch up on vacations and time away after being cooped up by the pandemic. 

“Most criminals are looking for the easiest way in when no one is home. Usually, that’s in the middle of the day, when everyone’s at work, or when you go on a vacation,” explains, an ADT products custom home manager for the San Francisco Bay Area. “They’re looking for ease of access. It’s hot outside. Did someone leave a window or patio door open? Does that door have glass in it? Burglars are all about doing what’s easy, quick, and quiet. Most often here, I see a break-in right through the front door.”