Punta Gorda PD offering free vacation home checks

Published: Updated:

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.-¬†The Punta Gorda Police Department is working to protect residents from being targeted by thieves through a free service called “Away from Home.”

Southwest Florida is home to thousands of snowbirds, and many people worry about their homes while they’re away for months at a time.

“We have volunteers on patrol and what they do is they check these residences while people are away,” said Katie Heck, with Punta Gorda police.

Volunteers stop by homes every day while residents are away, no matter how long.

“It gives frequent presence at the home while people are away, so that no one who might be in the neighborhood looking for a house to target, maybe for a burglary, they’ll see that there’s activity at the house,” said¬†Heck.

More than 700 people have already signed up for the program. Still, police say not everybody knows about it and they want that to change.

“We had it for several years now and it’s increasing in popularity as we get the word out, but I¬†think there’s a lot of people who don’t know about it,” said Heck.

“Well I’ve not heard of it before, but it sounds like quite an opportunity for people. I would take advantage of it,” said resident Lavern Tyler.

Since the program began, police say they have not seen an increase in burglaries at homes of snowbirds or residents on vacation.

“We haven’t caught a burglary in progress or anything because we can’t measure how many times we’ve prevented a burglary from happening,” said Heck.

If you’re interested in the program, you can register by calling Punta Gorda police¬†at¬†941-639-4111 or head¬†to the department’s website.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.