Can I keep my home safe while I'm gone?

Dear Benny,

I am headed out of town for the long Thanksgiving weekend, but I’m worried about my home while I’m gone. I’ve heard some police departments around the country offer special home-watch services for out-of-town residents, and I was wondering if the Philadelphia or Penn Police do this as well?

— Nervous Traveler


Dear Stressed Out,

Actually, you’re in luck.

The University’s Division of Public Safety does offer a program that can help keep your home and your possessions safe over the holiday—a time when occupancy in neighborhoods near Penn drops, making the area vulnerable to crime.

The Special Checks of Residential Properties program offers protection from Wednesday evening, Nov. 23, through Sunday evening, Nov. 27. The checks are available to students, faculty and staff who live within the following geographical boundaries: Schuylkill River west to 43rd Street, and Baltimore Avenue north to Market Street.

Once your house is registered for the program, Penn Police officers will check the exterior of your property for signs of criminal activity or break-ins. If any problems turn up, police will take the appropriate action—whether that means making an arrest or just checking out the interior of your home. Residents will of course be notified of any problems.

To register your property for Special Checks over the upcoming break, pick up an application at Penn Police Headquarters, 4040 Chestnut Street, or register on the Web via the Public Safety homepage at

Originally published on November 17, 2005