As the holidays creep ever closer, the Brentwood Police Department wants to remind residents of a program designed to give them the gift of peace of mind.

The Vacation Watch program was designed to allow officers to notify residents as quickly as possible if something unusual should occur at their homes while they are traveling. Residents who sign up for the program give officers their contact information and dates of travel, as well as any other information they feel would be useful, such as the number of cars that should be in the driveway or whether or not anyone should be in the house at any time while they’re away.

When they have the time, officers will drive by to make sure everything looks normal at the homes of people who sign up for the program. The emphasis, however, is not so much on crime prevention as it is on promptly notifying traveling residents of any problems at their residences.

“The primary purpose of this program is for the police department to have contact information on file when residents are going to be out of town,” Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh said in an email. “In the event that something occurs at the residence, we then have the ability to make contact with the homeowners.”

In a video posted to the City of Brentwood’s Facebook page reminding residents of the Vacation Watch program, BPD Officer Mark Wood informed travelers of some common-sense precautions they should take before going out of town. He emphasized that any vehicles left in driveways should be locked and emptied of any valuables. He also stressed the importance of setting home burglar alarms, even during daytime hours, and of leaving on exterior lighting.

Most important, however, he said was making sure that those who live closest to you know your travel plans.

“Your best line of defense when you are away from home is to make sure that your neighbors know that you are going to be away and let them watch your home,” Wood said in the video.

Residents can sign up for the Vacation Watch program, which has been in place for a number of years, here.

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