Editor's Note: The following is from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Going away on a summer vacation? The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s got your back.
More than 400 members of the Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol (SVP) will be keeping a watchful eye on people’s homes during their out of town travels.
If you live in the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department, you can fill out a form online and submit it to your nearest Sheriff’s Station or Substation.
The Sheriff’s Department offers the free vacation checks year‐round. Let us know when you’re leaving and Senior Volunteer Patrol members will perform security inspections outside your home Monday through Saturday. They will check if your doors, windows and garage are locked. They will also hide your newspapers and packages in your side fence or back patio. If they see anything suspicious, they will call for the assistance of a deputy who will determine if there’s been a break in.
Upon your return, you will get a welcome home letter listing the dates your home was checked and observations made during the visits.
To take advantage of this free service, complete and return a vacation check form (PDF attached) to your nearest Sheriff’s station—which for Encinitas residents, is located at 175 N. El Camino Real.
The Sheriff's Department also offers these tips on summertime safety:
- Always lock your doors and windows especially at night and when you're away
- Close your garage and pet doors
- Secure ladders and tools so they can't be used to gain entry into your home
- Be wary of anyone who approaches your front door and don't let them take up too much of your time. Criminals work together; one will come to your door and distract you while the other sneaks into your home. Ask for an ID of a utility person.
- Be a good neighbor, lookout for one another.
- Excessive dog barking could be a sign of an intruder and may warrant a call to the Sheriff's Department.
- Report suspicious activity to the Sheriff's non‐emergency line (858) 565‐5200
- Sheriff's Crime Prevention Specialists offer a free security check to show vulnerabilities in your home. Call your local Station or Substation. For more information, click here.
When going on vacation
- Lock up your home, activate your alarm
- Don't broadcast your plans on social media
- Hold the delivery of your mail and newspaper or ask a trusted friend to pick them up for you
- Buy a timer for your lights and set them in a random pattern
- Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway
- Fill out a FREE vacation check form, so Sheriff's Senior Volunteer Patrol members can keep an eye on your home.
- Never leave your car running unattended, even to dash into a store.
- Always roll up your windows and lock your car even in hot weather.
- Never leave valuables in plain sight.
- Park cars in well‐lit areas.
- Never leave any keys in the car or ignition.
- Always wear a helmet
- Follow the rules of the road
- Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it
- Wear bright‐colored or reflective clothing
- If you're not riding, lock your bike
- Parents, set parameters on where kids are allowed to ride