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Protecting Property Can Prevent Summertime Blues

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RALEIGH — Great summer vacations can spoil quickly -- especially when finding out that someone else called your house "home sweet home" while you were gone.

TheFBIsays more home burglaries occur in July and August than during any other time of the year. Summer gets people out of the house to go on vacation -- and that is exactly what burglars are waiting for. Taking proper precautions could save summer from becoming a nightmare.

People can take the first step in protecting their property by knowing exactly what they own. Insurance companies recommend taking an inventory of items in the house.

Yourlockbox.comis a free Web site that allows people to document their valuables. People can add pictures of their property to the descriptions, allowing police to match stolen items with their owners. The property list can be updated at any time.

Raleigh police recover stolen property everyday. Unfortunately, they cannot return most of it. The reason: People do not keep records.

"We can have 12 VCRs and TVs with serial numbers, and we still don't know who they belong to,"Raleigh PoliceDetective Barbara Cojocar. "That's why it's important to keep track of your serial numbers."

Cojocar suggests people record their property's serial numbers and keep the information in a safe location.

Raleigh police can keep most of the recovered items for only 180 days. So much property goes unclaimed, they hold two auctions a year to get rid of the leftover items.

It is also a good idea to engrave your driver license number on items that do not have serial numbers. You can borrow the Raleigh Police Department's engraver for free.