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VSO’s House Watch Program Gives Peace of Mind While You’re Away

Now that Volusia County children are back in school, maybe you’re planning a fall vacation or traveling for a late-summer change of scenery.
If so, remember to practice good crime prevention while you’re away from home. Did you know the Sheriff’s Office offers a House Watch program to help?
This program is a free service in which volunteer members of the Sheriff’s Office Citizen Observer Program (COP) will check on your home as often as possible while you’re away. That means we’ll patrol at your home once or maybe even twice a day, but at least several times a week.
We offer two types of house watches —a drive-by house watch or a physical walk-around house watch.

In the drive-by watch, COP volunteers check on your house from the street, looking for anything out of the ordinary such as broken windows or signs of forced entry. They’ll also look for obvious signs that no one’s home, like newspapers piling up or no lights left on at night.

If you choose to have a physical walk-around watch, the COP will walk around the outside of your home, looking for problems. We won’t be entering porches or trying to open doors or windows.
Our house watches can help you enhance your home’s security, such as reminding you to discontinue mail and newspaper delivery, and keep your lawn mowed. This program is for residents who will be away from home; houses for sale aren’t eligible for the house watch program.

To apply for a House Watch, homeowners must complete a request form. It’s available on our website: https:// -prevention.stml The form has to be re-turned to the Sheriff’s district office near you at least a week before you’re leaving.

The form is simple to complete. It asks for information to help observers know what’s normal and what’s not—such as whether vehicles will be on your property, whether lights will be left on, and anyone who’s expected to visit your home.

You’ll be asked to leave a phone number where you can be reached while you’re away. You should designate a trusted friend or family member who lives locally, has a house key, and can respond to your home if a problem arises.

Here are a couple of other helpful tools on our website under Crime Prevention:

  • We also offer security surveys for home and commercial properties. A specially trained Community Services sergeant can visit your home or business to evaluate your property and suggest ways to improve security. Just call our nearest Sheriff’s District Office and ask for the Community Services sergeant. (The numbers are listed in the Crime Prevention section).
  • Neighborhood Watch groups learn how criminals work, what type of suspicious activity to watch for, and how to report it. We offer information on joining or establishing a Neighborhood Watch group in your area.

This isn’t rocket science but it’s important information about preventing crime in your neighborhood. I want everyone to stay safe and help us protect the beautiful community we call home.

Stay well and enjoy,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood