Would you like to be able to go on vacation or leave town on business without your home being broken into and all your valuables being hauled away by no-good thieves?

Well, now that spring is in the air and vacation time is fast approaching, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is trying to make area citizens aware of a little known program that can help keep homes safe from criminals.  In order to reduce crime in Guilford County, the department offers a “Vacation Safety Check” service – which costs nothing and takes no more effort than a phone call.

Here’s how it works.  Before you go away for any length of time on business or pleasure, you can contact your local Sheriff’s Department District Office and the department will have deputies sit outside your house in a squad car 24 hours a day until you return.

OK, not really – but, what they will actually do is send a car by your home occasionally to check on the place, look for suspicious activity, and, hopefully, discourage any thieves who may be casing your house.

Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Master Corporal J.A. Page, who oversees the program, said something this simple can really help a great deal.

“I can remember in the past when a deputy drove by and caught people breaking in,” he said of the program.

He said it’s easy enough to have your home looked after.

“Before you go, just call the District Office and let them know,” he said.

Page said the program has been available for a long time but not a lot of people know about it so the department is now attempting to publicize it more.

According to Page, officers on patrol usually have some downtime and they like to use that time productively by doing things like checking on homes while the owners are away.

“We’re working for 12 hours and we like to have stuff to do,” Page said.

Sometimes officers will drive by and other times they might get out and walk around the property – particularly if they see anything concerning.

Page said there are a lot of other things you can do to help keep your home safe while you’re away.

“Timers are always a good idea,” he said, since having lights come on and off might make potential thieves think twice.

He said having motion-activated outside lights is a very good idea as well – as, of course, is making sure that your newspapers and your mail aren’t piling up.

Page added that you should be a “nosy neighbor” and encourage your neighbors to be ones as well since that’s a good way to spot suspicious activity.

“Be that nosy neighbor,” he said.

If people don’t know which district office serves them, they can find out by calling the Sheriff’s Department’s headquarters at (336) 641-3694.