Leaving town for the holidays — or any other time of the year — and have concerns about the safety of your home?
Williamsburg area police will check on it.
James City County Police spokeswoman Stephanie Williams said officers who perform the checks will drive to the home, walk around the property and determine whether anything is out of place.
How often an officer does that depends, and Williams didn’t want to give specifics to tip off potential criminals.
“It’s also something that we don’t want to put out there how regularly we do it either, for obvious reasons,” Williams said.
Police will ask the homeowner to provide information on how long they’ll be away, where they will be, whether they have an alarm or alarm company servicing the home and whether anyone else will be stopping by to water plants or feed animals.
But the program is not just available during the holidays. Williams said people going away for an extended period at any point during the year can have James City County Police check on their homes.
The home check programs run by Williamsburg Police and the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office are also year-round.
In 2016, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s office did 202 house checks, while James City County performed 205. Williamsburg Police provided house check data by fiscal year, with 1,352 in FY 2016.
“It’s just keeping an extra eye out on your home while you’re gone,” Williams said.
If police find anything out of place, Williams said the officer will use the contact information provided to contact the resident, or if out of the country, contact a designated relative or neighbor.
She said that if people return early or extend their time away to contact police to let them know.
“We would just encourage people to sign up for it,” Williams said. “It’s super easy.”
Tips for keeping your home safe while away
For those leaving the area for an extended period, James City County Police recommends residents do the following:
- Lock all doors and windows, and use deadbolts.
- Put lights on a timer and vary vary the times if you can.
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery.
- Don’t post on social media that you are away from home or going away.
- Don’t leave any spare keys outside your home.
- Get a friend or neighbor to check on your home and collect any unexpected deliveries.
- Consider getting a home security system. If you already have a system installed, let the alarm company know that you will be away.
JCC Police house check program
Any James City County resident interested in having the James City County Police check on their home while away can fill out a House Check Request Form online at jamescitycountyva.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/423. Save the form to a computer and email it to James City County Police Records Office at email@example.com. Residents may also fax the form to 757-229-8729 or drop it off at the office during normal business hours.
Residents can also call the James City County Police at 259-5140 or 253-1800 to request a home check.
Williamsburg Police house check program
City residents can have the Williamsburg Police check on their homes while they are away. Homeowners must fill out and print a house check form (williamsburgva.gov/home/showdocument?id=3299) and bring it to the Williamsburg Police Department between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or mail it to the Office of the Chief of Police, 425 Armistead Ave., Williamsburg, VA 23185. City police will check your home for up to 30 days.
York County vacation house check
Residents wanting their homes checked while they are away can go to form.jotform.com/60533996362160, then fill out and submit the form online.