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Chandler police offers free service to watch homes during holiday vacations

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LISTEN: Chandler PD vacation watch program

PHOENIX — Chandler residents planning holiday vacations will be able to ask police officers to keep an eye on their home while they’re out of town.

The Chandler Police Department’s Vacation Watch Program is free to all Chandler residents. All people have to do is fill out a form and they’re all set.

“We encourage you to fill out this form,” Sgt. Daniel Mejia said. “This gets distributed to our patrol officers within those beats.”

You can indicate whether there are pets in your home, if there are timers for your lights and so on. Mejia said officers assigned to beats with homes to watch will check on them more frequently.

It’s not clear whether the program prevents more property crime – Mejia didn’t have the statistics – but he said, in his experience, marked patrol cars in neighborhoods tend to make thieves think twice.

“You have a fully-marked patrol vehicle that is obviously parked in front of the residence and is visually checking,” he said. “Anyone in that area, driving around, may be potentially casing that area, that street, that residence — (patrol cars) tend to serve as a deterrent.”

If you’d rather not have a patrol car doing extra surveillance on your home, the department has other tips for keeping thieves away:

  • Notify a friend, relative or trusted neighbor that you’ll be away. Leave emergency phone numbers with them.
  • Lock all doors, windows and gates when you leave. For garage doors, manually lock it and disable the electronic opener.
  • Stop mail and newspaper deliveries, or have a friend/relative/trusted neighbor bring them in daily.
  • Put a couple of indoor lights and your radio on a light timer.
  • Arrange for someone to take care of your lawn and pets (if any) while you’re away.
  • Do not announce vacation plans on any social media. Mejia said social media is not secure and can be hacked.
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