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Protect your home this holiday season

During the holiday season, with more people leaving town, home break-ins become more common. But there are simple things homeowners and renters can do to protect their homes, according to the Carrboro Police Department.

“The main thing that I would stress, if you’re going to be away … is to keep your house looking like it’s lived in,” said Paul Atherton, community services officer with the Carrboro Police. “You don’t want to give the impression that it’s an empty house.”

Put lights on timers and make sure mail, packages and newspapers are collected, he added.

“A lot of people tend to hide a key somewhere outside,” Atherton said. “I don’t recommend that.”

Instead, leave a key with a trusted neighbor and ask the same neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers. Even if mail and newspaper service can be stopped, make sure someone checks for packages, Atherton said.

“If someone sent you something and you don’t know it’s coming, it’s really hard to call FedEx and say stop delivering to my house,” he said.

In addition, “It’s a good idea, whether you’re on vacation or not, to keep your curtains closed,” Atherton said. A Christmas tree with a pile of presents under it “makes your house more attractive for a burglar.”

Both renters and homeowners should have insurance on the items inside their homes, he added. “Don’t think that your apartment complex or landlord is going to pay for anything stolen.”

Atherton also recommends having someone check doors and windows regularly to make sure they’re secure. If a neighbor or friend isn’t available to check your house, the Carrboro Police Department will do so.

“We can do the basics,” Atherton said, adding that police officers will check windows and doors once a day to make sure they’re secure.

To have the police check your house, fill out a form at the Carrboro Police Station, located in the Century Center on the corner of Weaver and Greensboro streets.

— Susan Dickson

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