Free vacation watch program offered by Richmond Police

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Crooks may be eyeing your home when you go on vacation or take a holiday trip. But there's a free way to protect your property when you're out of town.

It's called vacation watch, a free service offered by Richmond Police. You just let them know when you'll be out of town and they'll take it from there.

Henry and Martha Mead have lived in their south Richmond community for many years.

"It's important to us that the neighborhood be kept up and that it be watched," said Martha Mead.

They'd never experienced crime, but others around them had.

"We did have some problems with some residential burglaries back toward the end of the summer, September, and a little bit into October," said Richmond Police Captain Steve Drew.

In talking with Richmond police about the prowler, Henry and Martha found out about the department's vacation watch program. It was perfect timing as they were about to take a ten day trip.

"We thought that's what it would be, that someone would be just driving up and down the street patrolling," said Mead.

Until they got a phone call while at the beach from a patrol officer.

"He called us and asked us about a small hole that was in our porch window, and he wanted to know if it had always been there," said Mead.

It had, but that small observation left a huge impression.

"It illustrated to us that he took the time to ride by our home, and he saw something that he thought might be a problem," said Mead.

Richmond police said they prefer families give them one to two weeks notice as to when they're going on vacation. Officers are told during roll call which homes to watch.

"To get out and check the homes, and make sure walk around the front and back; it's a strong partnership between the community and the officers," said Capt. Drew.

Martha Mead said people in the community look out for each other, but it's nice to have that extra set of eyes.

"It was nice to have somebody who was personally looking out after the house and our property," said Mead.

Captain Drew said you can call your police precinct or headquarters to put your address on a vacation watch or fill out a form on the police department's web site.

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