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How to keep your home safe while on vacation

Posted at 12:15 PM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2019-12-08 20:27:07-05

TAMPA — Julie Fisher and her husband, Mike, just got back from the trip of a lifetime.

They spent two and half weeks in Australia and New Zealand.

“It was a serious bucket list trip. We wanted to do this before we are too old to enjoy it.”

Being gone that long meant the Fisher’s needed help.

“We know that an empty house is potentially a target.”

So they asked others to look after their Pasco County home.

“A lot of our neighbors, I talked to and made sure they know if there’s a strange car in the driveway that it didn’t belong there, or I did have somebody coming in feeding the animals."

But, there is another option.

Throughout the Tampa Bay Area multiple law enforcement agencies offer free vacation watch services so you can keep your house safe, even when you're gone.

The Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office all offer their own version of the service.

You just fill out the online form for the agency that's relevant to you, and when they're able an officer, deputy or volunteer will stop by and check on your home.

“Often times when we check them, we actually physically walk around the house. Check the doors, check the windows,” said Chick Anderson, a volunteer supervisor in Pasco County.

The sheriff’s office recommends other steps before you go away like putting your mail and newspaper delivery on hold, prevent anything that might let would-be thieves know you are away and make sure you have someone reliable to keep an eye on your home.

If you sign up for one of the vacation watch services, make sure you do so a few days before leaving so authorities have a heads up.