Popular program puts police eyes on your house while you're away

- People are taking advantage of the Grand Prairie Police Department’s offer to keep an eye on their home while they’re away for the holidays.

Homeowners who have used Vacation Watch praise it.

“We’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback from not only the citizens, but people outside our community hoping that it may get picked up by their cities,” said Officer Lyle Gensler, with the Grand Prairie Police Department.

Grand Prairie resident Peggy Emanuelson is a big fan of the program.

“So you just want the extra security knowing that your house is being watched,” she said.

She said it’s easy to use.

“I just know it’s very simple to use. You just log on, you tell them the dates you’re going to be gone and just let them know, ‘Hey, please watch my house. Drive by, get out, look around if you want to, whatever,’” Emanuelson said.

Residents indicate when they’ll be on vacation and patrol officers who patrol that specific area will actually go by and check on the house.

Gensler said more than 600 residents and businesses have used the program so far this year. But the security is actually a team effort.

“Neighbors are the greatest witnesses ever. They see somebody around a house that’s not supposed to be there, they call us and we respond. That has worked several times,” he said.

To participate in the program, residents should register in advance on the department’s website. Police must first confirm the information that’s entered.

Other local police departments have similar programs, but the one in Grand Prairie has become especially popular because of social media.

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