A Message from Sheriff Scott Israel


The Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching and many Broward County residents will be taking vacations or leaving town to visit with family and friends. The Broward Sheriff's Office reminds everyone that there are certain security-minded steps to take before leaving town. Remember to stop all newspaper deliveries, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail and contact your local Broward Sheriff’s Office district office to sign up for our Home Watch program.

When you sign up for BSO’s Home Watch program, a deputy, community service aide or BSO volunteer will check on your home regularly while you are on vacation. An exterior check of your home will be conducted to make sure there have been no unlawful entries and that no other obvious problems have occurred outside of your home. To sign up for this FREE service, visit www.sheriff.org/homewatch and download the form. Complete it and return it to the BSO district that serves your community. You may also stop by your BSO district office and our staff will help you complete the form. Knowing that your home is being protected will put your mind at ease during your vacation. We only offer our Home Watch program in our patrol jurisdictions. If you live outside of a BSO jurisdiction, contact your city or town’s police department and ask if they offer a similar service.

Before you leave town it is important to make sure your home appears occupied. Place timers on your lights and set them to turn on and off at different times. Lock your garage door and disconnect the automatic opener. Most importantly, tell a trusted neighbor that you are going to be away and ask them to dial 911 immediately if they see anyone on your property.

Here are some additional home security tips to keep in mind:

  • Install good locks on all doors and windows and always use them.
  • Give a spare key to your trusted neighbor and provide them with an emergency telephone number where they can reach you.
  • Have someone mow your lawn if you’ll be away more than a couple of weeks.
  • Never leave a message on your telephone answering machine stating you are out of town.
  • Leave your window blinds as you normally would if you were home.
  • Invite your neighbor to park their car in your driveway.

If you are traveling by air, we remind you to arrive early. At the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport our deputies are in place to ensure your safety, but long lines to check-in and security check points are often a cause of frustration for travelers. Arriving early alleviates congestion and allows you appropriate time to arrive at your gate. If you are picking up guests at the airport, you are reminded not to park on the swale at the entrance of the airport. You can park in the “cell phone” lot until your loved one’s flight arrives.

If you are traveling by car, you should also allow yourself enough time to reach your destination since the roadways are always more congested during the holidays. Confirm your vehicle is in proper working order prior to traveling. If you plan to stop at a rest area, make certain it is well-lit and lock your doors when you exit the vehicle.

On behalf of the men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

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