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Gone for the holidays? Citizen police volunteers will check on your home

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As families head out of town for the holiday season, at least two area police departments are checking on residents’ homes while they’re on vacation.

Rocklin and Folsom police said the service deters would-be robbers during the holiday season.

“Obviously the holidays are a time where many people will leave home and travel to visit family or friends,” said Scott Horrillo, a spokesman for the Rocklin Police Department. “We’re here and we’re available to check on your property if you’re on vacation.”

Anyone living within the Rocklin city limit can request a check, conducted by trained volunteers working within the department’s patrol division every day of the year, Horrillo said.

Those interested in the service can call the department’s dispatch center or file an online form detailing what days they will be away from home, anyone with access to the property and emergency contact information.

Volunteers have conducted nearly 1,400 individual vacation checks since the start of the year, Horrillo said. Volunteers look for anything that seems out of place as well as for signs of forced entry and will call dispatchers to request an officer at the residence if needed, he added.

“They’re kind of our extra eyes and ears out in the community,” Horrillo said of the volunteers, who have been performing the checks since 2003. “Vacation checks are just one part of what they do in their overall duties.”

Rocklin residents interested in scheduling vacation checks can call the department’s dispatch center at 916-625-540 or can access the online form on the city’s website.

The Folsom Police Department likewise has a program to check on the homes of residents heading out of town.

It’s called the “Vacation Check Program,” according to Sgt. Andrew Bates, the department’s spokesman. Bates said participants who are leaving Folsom for short periods can come into the Folsom Police Department and fill out a form that lists neighbors, emergency contacts and other pertinent information.

From there, volunteer citizen patrols periodically check the homes and report “anything suspicious they might see outside the house” to department officers, Bates said.

Bates noted that program participants have to sign up in person with identification.

The Sacramento Police Department posted suggestions for residents Thursday on Nextdoor.com. The tips include asking a neighbor or family member to watch a home and pick up mail when the resident is leaving home for an extended time.

Bee staff writer Mark Glover contributed to this report

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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