RANCHO SANTA FE — While many are readying for summer vacation, there are various ways you can help safeguard your home before jetting off to your destination. According to Chief Matt Wellhouser of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, simple precautionary steps can be taken ahead of time.
Wellhouser wants to remind Covenant residents that they are afforded vacation checks through the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol. Since 1976, the RSF Patrol has implemented numerous vacation checks, and the demand has increased over the years. This service enhances the patrol’s overall role within the Covenant.
In 2016, a total of 37,568 vacation checks were conducted where patrol units visited homes.
“These vacation checks help give residents peace of mind knowing that someone is eyeballing their house,” Wellhouser said.
For those interested in scheduling vacation checks, they can do so by either calling the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol or the Association office for additional information.
Before leaving town, Wellhouser highly suggests testing an alarm system to make certain it’s in working order.
“Most people have alarm systems and turn them on the last minute and discover they’re not working right because there is a broken sensor,” he said. “Residents also want to make sure their doors and windows lock properly. We find a lot of the wood doors and windows tend to warp over time and get out of kilter.”
In instances such as this, doors and windows need to be professionally adjusted so residents can lock and secure them to avoid any vulnerability while they are away.
Another tip to help deter susceptibility is to have lights on timers on various cycles so that it appears someone is at the residence.
“If the house is all dark with the blinds shut that may look like no one is home,” Wellhouser said. “That could be a target. Criminals are real opportunists.”
Wellhouser added that if an intruder encounters a residence that is hard to break into, they’ll move to the next home.
It’s also suggested to cancel any newspaper delivery. If at all possible, Wellhouser advised postponing package deliveries. However, if this cannot be done, it’s best to have a neighbor pick it up and store it at their home, so it remains out of sight.
“These are simple things that residents can do,” Wellhouser said. “Remember, harden the target by locking the doors, use lighting timers, make sure the alarm system works and lock up valuables in the safe. I’ve seen too many homes where they have a safe, but they don’t lock it. So take the time to do that.”
To reach the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, call (858) 756-4372. Dispatch is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.