When Oak Bay residents go on vacation, they enjoy a peace of mind that many in other communities don’t.
Oak Bay police officers go the extra mile for residents by checking up on their properties when they go out of town.
Chief Const. Andy Brinton said the ‘vacation home check’ program was started in 2012 to offer peace of mind to residents after a number of break and enters in the community.
When residents call the police department and notify them that they are going out of town, officers will check out the property while on patrol – if time allows.
Residents have to provide a neighbour’s phone number and emergency contact information.
Oak Bay resident Jean Edmonson has used the service at least 10 times.
“It’s an extra layer of security,” she said. “It’s a perk of living in Oak Bay, that’s for sure.”
Brinton emphasized the service should not replace the duty homeowners have to alert their neighbours they are leaving, and said they should hire a private security firm if they want to reinforce security.
“It doesn’t replace the regular checks you would get through a private security company,” he said. “We will go by when we can, but there might be periods of time, where based on case loads… we can’t get by consistently,” he said. “We do reinforce the need to communicate with your neighbours.”
But along with keeping an eye on vulnerable properties, Brinton said the service has helped local police connect with the Oak Bay community.
“It allows us to actually communicate with the public and interact with them a bit more,” he said. “It’s a small jurisdiction so we get to know where people live and get a little bit more familiar with the neighbourhood.”
“We pride ourselves on that local knowledge and that direct relationship with our community.”