With Winter Break almost upon us, out-of-town family and friends beckon. To keep belongings safe and reduce the threat of home burglary while members of the Penn community are away, the Division of Public Safety (DPS) is again offering special property checks.
At peak travel times during Thanksgiving, as well as Spring and Winter Breaks, Penn Police officers will check the exterior of registered properties and the area around them for signs of criminal activity or security breaches.
The program is available at no charge to residents in the Penn Patrol Zone, bounded by 30th Street on the east to 43rd Street on the west, and from Baltimore Avenue north to Market Street.
Students, faculty, and staff who live in the patrol zone can register their residence for special checks by visiting the DPS website and filling out an online form with their name and contact information, names of other occupants, landlord vacancy dates, scheduled repairs, and the name of someone other than a landlord with access or a key to the property.
DPS special checks will begin on Friday, Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. and continue through Sunday, Jan. 10, at 3 p.m.
“Officers will drive, bike, or walk by registered properties while on patrol and physically check building exteriors, including all perimeter doors and windows,” says Joe Fischer, captain of patrol for the Penn Police. “Sometimes people forget to secure their residences in their rush to leave for the break. We find doors unlocked or windows ajar.”
If a check reveals that an occupant simply forgot to lock a door or window, Penn Police will secure the property. If there are signs of a break-in or other criminal activity, DPS will investigate and notify occupants.
Typically, Fischer says 60 to 80 residences are registered in the program each time it is offered.