Hitting the Road This Weekend?

A few things you need to do first …

With summer officially in full swing and temperatures climbing to triple digits, many North Carolinians are dreaming of how they’ll spend their vacation days – a recent Gallup poll says that 55 percent of Americans plan on taking a vacation this summer.

But don’t pack your beach bag just yet. While summer trips usually mean sand and sun, they can also mean that your house is vulnerable to theft or damage.

“The vast majority of burglaries in Cary occur during the daytime,” said Sgt. Jeremy Burgin of the Cary Police Department.

According to Burgin, burglars are attracted to houses with pile ups of mail or flyers on the outside of mailboxes – a problem with an easy solution.

“One of the most important factors when you’re talking about vacation is having someone nearby that you know watching the house,” he said.

But skip leaving a spare key under your not-so-hidden fake rock. Burgin says the Cary PD never advises leaving a key anywhere outside. Instead, give a key directly to one specific neighbor, or program a temporary alarm code so he can have access.

Another indicator of an empty home can be either a lack of light or lamps blazing all day and night. Burgin suggests installing light timers in separate parts of the house that run from 6 to 10 a.m., and 9 p.m. to midnight, mimicking real activity.

“You want to make sure you’re using new timers instead of old ones,” added Robin Foster, co-owner of Mr. Handyman of Western Wake County. “If you are using old ones, there’s a chance they could start a fire.”

Free home check

In addition to safety threats, homes are often vulnerable to maintenance issues while homeowners are away.

“In the summer, it’s not necessary to do anything about the pipes and the water because you don’t have the potential for freezing. We do advise turning off the water at your washing machine. One of the most common water damages is when that water builds up in the hose and it bursts,” said Foster.

She also suggests double- and triple-checking your small appliances; coffee makers, toasters and hair tools left plugged in are among the most common causes of accidental household fires.

Before hitting the road on vacation, those looking to get an extra leg up on home safety can take advantage of the Cary PD’s free home security assessment service.

“What that entails is an officer comes out to the house, inspects the house for any security vulnerabilities, and we talk about options available to the homeowner on ways to make their house safer,” Burgin explained. “That would include things like doors, locks, windows, lights, landscape and physical structure of the house.”

For more information on this service, visit townofcary.org or contact Burgin at Jeremy.burgin@townofcary.org, or through the Community Services branch of Cary PD at (919) 469-4324.

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