By Linda Dillman
School is out and it is vacation time—fun for families and prime time for criminals as well.
Home security systems and watchful neighbors are great first lines of defense in keeping your property safe while you are away, but did you know there is a third line of security provided free of charge by local law enforcement in Canal Winchester?
“Vacation checks are a courtesy that the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office provides to all residents that live within our jurisdiction,” said Sgt. Forrest Cassel. “A deputy will check your home at least once a day for 30 days, while you are on vacation.”
According to Cassel, deputies walk around the home and check windows and doors to ensure the residence is secure. Officers look for cars parked on the property that do not belong there, check for any open windows and doors or any new damage to the home.
“It is important to have your home on vacation check to ensure it has not been burglarized,” said Cassel.
To sign up for a vacation check, call the county radio room at 740 652-7911 or visit the sheriff’s office website, print a copy of the vacation form and turn it in at 345 Lincoln Avenue, Lancaster.
Before going on vacation, and in addition to signing up for vacation checks, Cassel suggests homeowners put lights on timers, make sure all doors and windows are secure and arrange to have family or friends check the home.
He said property owners should also trim bushes and shrubs away from windows to eliminate hiding spaces for criminals trying to gain access into the home.
During the summer, Cassel said there is an uptick in thefts, drug activity, criminal damaging, public intoxication and vandalism.
“Be aware of your surroundings, lock your vehicle, lock all windows and doors at home when away, park in lighted areas, do not leave valuables in vehicles, and safety in numbers when out,” said Cassel. “Don’t become a victim, don’t make yourself an easy target.”