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Winter Haven Police Vacation Patrol keeps an eye on your home while away

 Winter Haven Police Vacation Patrol keeps an eye on your home while away
Posted at 7:57 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 19:57:46-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — It’s the unofficial start of summer and many people will be going on vacation. Is your home safe while you’re away?

The Winter Haven Police Department Vacation Patrol keeps an eye out on your home.

Winter Haven Police volunteer Richard Scholten makes his rounds every week to check on the homes of residents that are currently out of town. Three times a week police volunteers will visit a home, and they dont just drive by.

“Check the door, make sure it's secure and locked,” Scholten said.

They do a thorough assessment, walking around the property, checking that doors are not unlocked, and ensuring windows are not broken. “You can usually tell if a screen’s been removed,” Scholten said.

If something seems suspicious, they’ll contact the homeowner. The service is free, whether you’re gone for a week or a whole year.

Winter Haven Police ramped up Vacation Patrol, a few years ago after the homes of several snowbirds were broken into.

“A neighborhood of snowbirds that had almost 20 burglaries, when they all returned back home in September. Nobody had been really watching out for their home. The front may look good but nobody was going around to the back. So that’s the important thing,” said Jamie Brown, spokesperson for Winter Haven Police.

Brown said burglaries have cut down significantly in those neighborhoods.

All you have to do is submit a Vacation Patrol Request Form to the police department, at least one week before your departure. That way you have an extra pair of trained eyes and an added layer of security.