January 23, 2012
Burglaries are more likely to happen when homes are empty and residents are out of town and that's where Albemarle County's newest crime fighting duo come into play. John Springett and Bob Templeman volunteer with the police department's house watch program. Resident can sign up to have them check on their homes while they are away.
"We basically check all doors and windows, and try to determine whether or not there is any obvious signs of forced entry," said Springett. "If we see anything we believe is suspicious, we would call the department and they would send a sworn officer to determine if there was any issue."
Residents in Albemarle County can sign up for the service on the police department's website and the house check volunteers will stop by every few days to make sure everything is in order. The program started in June and so far, the house watch volunteers have made over 100 house checks.
"I think it's a great opportunity since I have time and am retired, to give back to the community," said Templeman.
The program gives community members peace of when they are out of town, but it also helps free up Albemarle County police officer to deal with other issues.
"It gives a lot of man hours back to patrol," said Steve Watson, a crime prevention specialist with the police department. "Over the last several months, we estimate about 138 hours have been given back to patrol because the house checks are done by volunteers."
More volunteers are needed for the house watch program. Anyone interested must go through a background check and complete forty hours of training. For more information, contact the Albemarle County police department.