St. Bernard residents can request extra patrols of their property while on vacation or away for an extended period of time.

Sheriff James Pohlmann reminds residents that before they leave town for an extended trip they should call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 to get on the list to have extra patrols of their properly by deputies.

“When thinking about the last-minute things you have to do before leaving, remember to call us for extra patrols,” Sheriff Pohlmann said.

“That information is kept confidential’’ and revealed only to the officers assigned to patrol the section where the caller lives, the sheriff said.

Residents should also leave a contact number with the Sheriff’s Office so a patrol deputy can call them if there is something wrong at a home,Sheriff Pohlmann said, including non crime-related matters such as damage from a wind or rain storm.

Because St. Bernard has fewer residents than before Hurricane Katrina there are fewer eyes on the streets in some neighborhoods to watch for suspicious actions, Sheriff Pohlmann said. “That makes signing up for the extra patrols more valuable.’’

The extra passes list has been used effectively for years and helps residents be assured their homes will have some extra protection while they are away.

Also, St. Bernard residents interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch group in their area can (504) 278-7628.

Residents should consider the following crime prevention tips before leaving their home for trips:

  • Lock up. While this might seem obvious, some people forget to lock their house completely while rushing to get away. Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
  • Be careful who you tell that you plan to be away from your home. However, ask someone you trust to watch for anything unusual. Also, never leave a message on a phone voice mail system saying you are out of town because any caller would learn your house may be vulnerable.
  • The same is true with social media. It is foolish to announce to everyone you will be going on a trip.
  • Do whatever possible to create the appearance someone is home. Keep a vehicle in the driveway or out front of your residence. Maintain your lawn before you leave or have someone you trust mow your lawn while you are gone.
  • Put outdoor lighting on either timers, light-sensitive photocell mechanisms, or motion detectors. Use timers to activate inside lighting, radios, or TVs. Use the fluorescent (cfl) light bulbs because they burn cooler than the standard light bulbs.
  • Don’t let deliveries accumulate. If possible, ask someone you know to pick up mail, newspapers, packages and any circulars placed on your front door. Stop delivery of any newspaper if you can so they don’t pile up.
  • Don’t leave keys under your doormat, flower pots or window ledges—intruders check these first.
  • Keep shrubbery trimmed. Thick shrubbery and trees cover your windows, allowing burglars to work undetected.
  • If you have a security system, ensure it is armed and provide instructions to the central monitoring station, – if you have one – to call your cell phone, the Sheriff’s Office and/or a particular friend, relative or neighbor if there is a problem.

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