CROSBY, Texas A free home-monitoring service may help cut down on home break-ins

When Carolyn Lycan recently left town, she called the Harris County Sheriff s office.

Because I thought that if there were criminals that knew I was gone, that if they saw the sheriff s department going up and down the street here, that they might not be as likely to want to come into my home and rob it, she said.

She had turned to a free service called Vacation Watch. Residents in Harris County can go online, fill out a form, and let deputies know they ll be gone.

The department will then keep a closer eye on your property.

Police say summer is often a prime time for break-ins. According to government statistics, a home burglary takes place every 15 seconds. It often happens while homeowners are away.

Residents that we have put on the list for a vacation watch, none of them have been burglarized or robbed, Captain Joel Inocencio with the Harris County Sheriff s Office said. So that should be in itself some evidence that if they were thinking about robbing or burglarizing the house that we deterred it.

And the sheriff s office is not the only agency offering the year-round service. Harris County s constables offices have similar programs. The Houston Police Department offers a program too.

Lycan said the service gave her peace of mind while she was out. Even her neighbors noticed deputies coming by up to three times a day.

They would stop in my driveway, look everything over, she said. They talked to two of my different neighbors to make sure that everything looked the same to them, that there was nothing that was any different anywhere.

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