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Sheriff's Department offering free home checks over Thanksgiving as part of year-round program

Posted at 1:25 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 16:29:02-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Roughly 55 million Americans are getting ready to travel for Thanksgiving weekend, leaving behind millions of empty homes.

Luckily, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has a program to ensure San Diegans have peace of mind leaving their homes behind.

The department offers free vacation checks year-round.

RELATED: San Diego to see Thanksgiving storm with holiday travel near record high

All residents have to do to take advantage of the program is let the department know they’re heading out of town.

From there, Senior Volunteer Patrol members keep a watchful eye of homes while residents are away.

Check out the list below to see what services are provided:

  • Security inspections around your home Monday through Friday
  • Check your home for broken windows, open doors, garages or other suspicious clues
  • Hide newspapers and packages in your side fence or back patio
  • Call for a deputy’s assistance if there is a problem
  • Provide a welcome letter upon the resident’s return listing the dates the home was checked and observations made during the visit

RELATED: Major storms could disrupt trips on one of the busiest travel weeks of the year

"Especially if you're out of the country for some time, it's really nice to know that somebody's looking out for your property," says Tom Beltz, one of the volunteers who does the checks.

If there is a problem, the volunteers call Sheriff's Deputies to come check out the home.

Beltz adds that one of the biggest services they offer during the holidays to make sure packages don't get stolen.

"If we find packages on the front porch, and if there's a backyard entrance for us to go through, we take those packages and put them in the back yard," says Beltz. "We try to put them out of harm's way if we see them."

All San Diegans have to do to take advantage of the program is complete and return a form. Click here to download the form.

Once you’re done filling it out, all you have to do is return it to your nearest Sheriff’s Station or Substation.