There has been a rash of smash-and-grab car break-ins in and around Harnett County over the last several months. Several park visitor vehicles parked in the parking lots at Raven Rock State Park have been hit. Thieves are smashing windows of locked cars and taking valuables stowed in the passenger area. Park staff is urging you to take precautions to prevent becoming a victim while visiting our naturally wonderful park. Below are some tips to help you prepare for your visit.
Car Break-in Prevention Tips
- Don’t make it easy
Keep windows and sunroofs closed and doors locked. Thefts that occur from vehicles are oftentimes from cars that have been left unlocked.
- Take your identification and other valuables with you
Many smash-and-grab thieves act on impulse, so keep your personal identification and valuable items with you. Remember: Simply hiding personal items like wallets or purses in the passenger area of the vehicle will not protect them from being taken in a smash-and-grab break-in. Thieves may be in the parking lot watching you stow your items. They may also be watching for what you don’t take with you. Thieves know most people have wallets and purses while driving, so if they see you leave your vehicle without it you may be creating a target.
- Stow your stuff before arrival
If you can’t carry an item with you, it is best to hide it before you arrive. Place any valuables you can’t carry with you in a locked trunk out of sight.
- Stash the evidence too!
After you’ve put your valuables in the trunk, don’t forget such telltale evidence as power plugs, MP3 adapters, and navigation system windshield suction-cup mounts. Thieves know what they’re looking for, so hide the electronic accessories, too.
- Don’t hand a thief your keys
Take your keys with you. Don’t assume you have a great hiding place for a spare key: Thieves know where to look!
- Garage Door Opener
Don’t leave your garage door opener visible.
- Don’t depend on a vehicle’s alarm system
Anti-theft vehicle alarms are great, but they do not necessarily prevent break-ins. In fact, many vehicle alarm systems will not be triggered by vehicle tampering, including shattering a window to access the vehicle.
- Trust your instincts
If you see suspicious activity, find another spot to park and report your suspicions to Park Staff. You may help prevent someone else from becoming a victim.
Park Contacts: Visitor Center – (910) 893-4888 (dial 0 at the greeting)
Park Ranger (emergency cell #) – (910) 890-1932
Get plant and animal checklists at the park office.
One of the best reasons to visit Raven Rock is the exceptional beauty of its wildflowers. A variety of species reveal magnificent blossoms in early spring. Look over patches of Dutchman's breeches, bloodroot, saxifrage and trailing arbutus. Gaze down paths lined with Solomon's seal, bellwort and spring beauty, or let your eyes wander through a haze of greens and yellows as leaves break their winter dormancy and begin to color the forest.
Raven Rock has a diverse topography. Along the river are high bluffs and low floodplains. Some of the largest trees in the park are found in the floodplain where common species include river birch, beech and sycamore. The river bluffs and cool, moist ravines are home to mountain laurel and rhododendron, as well as elm and red maple. The flat, dry uplands are characterized by pine and oak/hickory forests where sourwood, dogwood and blueberry comprise the understory.
The many streams of Raven Rock create an ideal habitat for aquatic invertebrates and fish. Salamanders are particularly at home along the river bluffs. The Piedmont forest is home to many reptiles. Spotted turtles live in small streams and larger turtles, such as the yellowbelly slider and the snapping turtle, are found in the river. Lizards such as the Carolina anole, fence lizard and skink also inhabit the forest. Among the many harmless snakes found in the park are the northern water snake, rat snake and the eastern hognose snake. Though rarely encountered, the venomous copperhead also resides in the park. Exercise caution when on park trails.
The spring migratory season brings many species of birds to the park. At the peak of the season, it is possible to see as many as 20 species of warblers in a single day. Wood ducks nest in hollow trees along the river and many other species such as hawks, owls and woodpeckers are also found.
Mammals in the park include white-tailed deer and eastern cottontails. Weasels, raccoons, mice and shrews inhabit the woodlands while beavers and muskrats are at home along rivers and creeks. Several species of bats may be seen as they hunt for insects.
Raven Rock State Park
January, February: 7am - 7pm
March, April, May: 7am - 9pm
June, July, August: 7am - 10pm
September, October: 7am - 9pm
November, December: 7am - 7pm
Closed Christmas Day
Park Visitor Center
8am - 5pm daily
Closed Christmas Day