With summer now in full swing, many Upper Moreland residents are preparing to embark on their annual vacations.
The Upper Morealnd Police Department’s (UMPD) Away Home Service helps keep those vacations as relaxing as possible for township home and business owners.
“The concept behind it is to give our residents peace of mind while they are away from home due to vacation, business or emergencies,” UMPD chief Thomas Nestel told Patch in a correspondence. “We also want to prevent the potential for burglary, and our visibility assists in reaching that goal.”
According to Nestel, the long-running , free service, invites residents to contact UMPD for the purpose of visiting their homes and businesses while they are away. Nestel said UMPD patrolling officers are very-familiar with the township neighborhoods, giving police a big advantage over potential criminal activity.
“Our patrol officers work in the same neighborhoods every day,” Nestel said. “By having residents notify us that they are gone, and that no one should be at the home, officers focus on those homes and notice whether unauthorized persons are on the property or unknown vehicles are parked nearby.”
According to Nestel, the Away Home Service has become popular with residents, citing 1,324 homes were checked in 2011 through the service.
Nestel said that some interesting discoveries have occurred, directly due to the Away Home Service checks:
- Discovery of a burglary at a house two doors down from an Away Home Service check
- Investigations of suspicious persons in the area of Away Home Service houses
- A garage door left opened, due to a neighbor who was permitted to borrow a lawn mower
- The arrest of a drunk driver who rode onto the sidewalk near an Away Home house being checked.
“Most importantly,” Nestel said. “Folks should know that we want to know when they are gone, so that we can provide them this worthwhile service.”
Who Can Receive the UMPD Away Home Service?
According to Nestel, any Upper Moreland Township resident or business is eligible for the service. Those interested must complete out a form, requesting the service, and return it to the police department via e-mail or dropped off at the station.
The form may be obtained by visiting the township’s website, www.uppermoreland.org.
Chief Nestel’s Crime Prevention Tips
Netel also provided several crime-prevention tips and strategies for any resident leaving their home or business for an extended period of time:
- Notify the post office to hold mail deliveries
- Ask a trusted neighbor to collect any circulars or deliveries and keep an eye for strangers near their property.
- Obtain a timer for home or business lights to go on and off.
- Ensure that all doors and windows are locked.
For more information about the Away Home Service, visit the township website, or call the UMPD station office at 215-657-4700.