Local police departments offer home vacation watches while you are away

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Posted at 1:32 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 18:37:06-05

Going out of town this holiday weekend? If so — what are you doing to make sure your home will be free of break-ins while you're gone?

Local police departments are encouraging the community to take precautions before heading out of town for the holidays. The Meridian and Nampa Police Departments both have vacation watch programs and will keep an extra eye on your home while you are away.

“During the holiday period especially, we have people who are opportunists, and they know that packages are going to be delivered. They know people are leaving town and they look for those opportunities to break into your house,” Meridian Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea said.

Meridian Police encourage the community to use their vacation check program if you are planning to be out of town for a long period of time. If you are planning to be gone for a day or two, they suggest just telling a neighbor, family member or friend as not every home can regularly be checked by officers.

“Time permitting, call load permitting, we will have officers drive through the neighborhood, check the residence just to make sure that nothing has been damaged, and nothing has been broken into,” Basterrechea said.

The Nampa Police Department offers vacation watches as well through their volunteer department.

“Volunteers go and routinely check the houses, make sure that everything is ok. If we see that newspapers are piling up, they will go and move them away because that's an indication no one's there,” Nampa Police Sergeant Travis Poore said.

Another tip they recommend is double-checking everything from doors to windows are locked. Also, notify other people like friends, family or close neighbors and get a security camera that can record inside and outside your home.

“[Security cameras] help us tremendously when thefts occur especially when not in our presence because we can't be everywhere at once,” Poore said.

Also avoid posting to social media, as you might not know exactly who is looking at your online pages.

“Don’t put anything on your phone message saying they are going to be out of town. Don’t advertise to the world that you're going to be out of town on Facebook or on your social media because most people have people on there that are their friends that they really don’t know,” Basterrechea said.

The Boise Police Department does not offer a vacation check program, but recommends the following:

  • Inform as few people as possible of your vacation plans. This includes newspaper and postal delivery people unless you are going to be gone for an extended period of time. 
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home while you are gone and to report any suspicious or criminal activity to the police department. 
  • Give emergency telephone or cell phone numbers, your itinerary, and a house key to your trusted neighbor. 
  • Ask them to pick up your newspaper, mail, and other deliveries daily. 
  • Ask your neighbor to place a filled garbage can in front of your house on collection day. 
  • Ask your neighbor to park their vehicle in your driveway occasionally. 
  • Arrange to have the lawn mowed or snow removed. 
  • Install dusk-to-dawn or motion sensor lights on all outdoor lights. 
  • Use automatic timers on a radio and lamps to simulate occupancy.  
  • Don't post your vacation plans on social media. 
  • Lock all outside doors using quality deadbolt locks and shut and lock your windows and your garage door. 
  • Store valuables in a safety deposit box.       
  • Alarms and cameras can also help you keep an eye on things while away. 

If you want to sign up for a check-in Meridian, call the Meridian PD front counter at (208) 888-6678. You will give them your address, when you will be out of town and other things to know to look for.

If you live in Nampa and are looking for a check, click here.