The Tampa Police Department can help protect your home if you're planning to leave town this holiday season.
The ad campaign for TPD's Vacation Watch Program, features Police Chief Brian Dugan posing as Macaulay Culkin from the movie Home Alone. Spokesperson Janelle McGregor says, like in the movie, being gone for the holidays can attract thieves.
"Often times when criminals are looking for homes to burglarize, they'll look for signs that the home is unoccupied such as the lawn not being maintained or newspapers stacked up by the door," McGregor said.
Residents who want to take advantage of the program are asked to go online and register a few days before they're scheduled to leave. McGregor said signing up for the Vacation Watch program does not mean officers are going to be standing guard at your front door.
"But officers will periodically check the area as their time permits to make sure that there's nothing suspicious happening there on the property," she said.
Last year, more than 1,000 residents signed up for the program. Tampa police say the Vacation Watch Program is not a replacement for alerting a trusted neighbor that you'll be gone for the holidays.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's office has a similar vacation house check program.