Volunteers conduct house checks for those on vacation

JACKSON COUNTY — Police say posting on social media may do more than just alert followers you are on vacation. It also lets people know no one is home.

“When you have property in this day in age, that’s one of the biggest fears you have when you go on vacation,” Mike Parsons, Volunteers in Police Services, said.

To keep your mind at ease, some local police departments have created programs that will keep an eye on your house while you’re away. They’re called house checks.

“If there is someone there that isn’t suppose to be there, we are not a police officer. We are eyes and ears. We’ll step back, drive one house down the street and call the officers. They can be there in three minutes,” Parsons said.

Agencies with official programs include Central Point, Ashland, Eagle Point, Phoenix, Talent and Grants Pass Department of Public Safety. The house check service through Central Point is under the Volunteers in Police Services program, otherwise known as VIPS.

“We don’t carry weapons. We don’t carry tasers. We don’t carry any kind of combative devices, so we are basically a cell phone and a radio away,” Parsons said.

They check for cars at your home, open doors and windows and any unusual activity around the house.

“If you got an expensive car in your garage or valuable inside the home. You lock them up. Don’t showcase them. Keep your windows, shades drawn, so if we come by one day and see your blinds open, we know something’s happened,” Parsons said.

The house check service is free for homeowners out of town for more than a week.

Other tips to make sure you don’t become a victim include holding your mail, making sure all doors and windows are locked and telling a trustworthy neighbor that you’ll be out of town.

“You feel good about what you’re doing for the community and you don’t need a paycheck,” Parsons said.

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