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SCV Sheriff's Officials Launch Vacant House Check Program

Posted: January 29, 2009 10:13 p.m.
Updated: January 29, 2009 11:01 p.m.
 
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's Crime Prevention Unit has developed and launched a new "Vacant House Check" program.

During these challenging economic times and the downturn in the housing and real estate markets we may see an increase in the number of vacant houses and other structures throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

If not maintained, secured, and frequently checked, some of these vacant structures can become a haven for those intent on wrong doing. These vacant properties can lead to incidents of trespassing, vandalism, unlawful parties or gatherings, arson, drug use, and other illegal or nuisance related activities that can further reduce property values and challenge the peace, serenity and safety of our neighborhoods.

As part of our forward-thinking approach towards best protecting our community, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's Crime Prevention Unit has developed and launched a new "Vacant House Check" program. 

Although we also want property owners and agents to pay extra attention to these types of properties, the new program puts in place a system where deputies, volunteers on patrol, reserve deputies, and other station staff members can work directly with them.

The personnel will randomly check vacant properties including houses, condominiums, businesses or other structures submitted by you throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

Deputies' house and property checks will generally consist of exterior perimeter checks only utilizing areas accessible to the public. Station personnel will check areas where access can be obtained without obstruction, unless a crime in progress, other criminal matter or serious safety hazard is identified.

If you are aware of a vacant or abandoned structure in your neighborhood or business community that appears to be run-down or attracting a criminal element, simply fill out the form at the following link: "Vacant House Check," provide as much information as you can about the property and we will check it out. Working together during challenging times we can make a difference.

"In an effort to best protect our residents we must continuously evaluate current events and unique challenges affecting our communities," said Captain Anthony La Berge of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "We are excited about this new program and look forward to yet another way we can stay closely connected to the residents and neighborhoods we serve."

The following tips may also help homeowners, landlords and property managers best monitor and protect their vacant properties and structures in the Santa Clarita Valley:

* Have good locks on the doors, garages, windows, and gates. Use them and check them regularly.
* Empty swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and ponds. Provide fencing around them.
* Keep the lawn mowed and other shrubs trimmed and watered.
* Leave random interior and exterior lighting on by using timers when possible.
* Replace broken windows.
* Try to make sure the house appears "lived-in."
* Frequently pick up mail, packages, newspapers, and trash.
* Place alarm or Neighborhood Watch signs in the yard or stickers on the windows. "Beware of Dog" signs can also be helpful.
* Leave emergency contact numbers for property owners, managers or Realtors in an accessible place or give them to a trustworthy nearby neighbor.

Help the Sheriff's deputies help you. When in doubt, let them check it out!

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