The Times-Register

June 17, 2014

Keller Police Department offers vacation home watch program

Residents can ask police to check on empty homes.

Keller Police officials want residents to feel less anxious about the belongings they’re leaving behind while on summer vacation.

Through the Vacation Watch Program, residents can have an added sense of security for their homes even when they’re away, Capt. Tommy Simmons said. Under the program, officers and police services volunteers check on empty homes in Keller and Westlake for anywhere from three to 21 days.

The officers and volunteers will check on each home twice daily, once during the day and once at night. During the day, officers will walk around the house and check doors, windows and any potential problems. At night officers drive by the home so they don’t startle neighbors with noise or flashlights, Simmons said.

Senior records technician Susan Walker said more residents are signing up for the program every year, as 379 households signed up in 2012, and 414 in 2013.

“I think now residents are more aware of it, and have heard that it is a good program from friends and neighbors,” she said. “Just hearing from the citizens that come in and use our service, they say they feel better knowing someone is looking out for the house.”

Walker said the program is good for new residents who don’t yet know many people in the area and don’t have someone to house sit.

Simmons said the program, offered year-round, is beneficial in instances other than vacations or business trips.

“Sometimes burglars look at the obituaries or in the media and see when funerals or other services are happening and visit the houses of people attending,” he said. “If anyone is in that situation and know they will be away for those occasions, they can let us know.”

Simmons said officers like people to be aware of the program and are happy to help keep homes safe.

Residents still need to make sure their homes are secured before leaving, and the department suggests asking a friend to check on the home as well. No request will be accepted for homes with a house sitter because of safety concerns.

To sign up for the service, go to the department’s website and fill out a request form. Take the copy to the department records clerk at 330 Rufe Snow Drive and a number will be assigned to the home so officers can check the houses by radio without disclosing the address.

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