FORT RUCKER, Ala.--When Soldiers and Families spend several days away from home, their residences can become targets of criminals. However, Community Police can ensure their homes remain safe during their absence.

According to Master Sgt. Michael Simmons, 6th Military Police (MP) Detachment provost sergeant, residents can sign up for a courtesy check before they depart Fort Rucker for vacations, temporary-duty assignments or emergency leaves.

After residents register for the program and leave, MPs conduct a thorough exterior check of the home, looking for any signs of illegal entry.

Simmons said the program "helps to cut down on crime" and makes investigating any committed crimes easier. For instance, if a resident is gone for two weeks and upon return finds a break-in occurred, under the program, MPs have an eight-hour timeframe to determine when it happened because the officers conduct two to three checks per day, Simmons said.

To sign up for the checks, residents must fill out a form at the MP desk in Bldg. 5001. Simmons said people must annotate when they will be leaving and returning, who is allowed access to their home, what pets and vehicles they will leave behind and if lights are on a timer.

He added residents should leave a contact address and phone number in case an emergency arises.

Residents must complete the form 24 to 48 hours before their departure unless they are taking emergency leave, in which case the MPs will begin the service immediately.
When residents return, they need to notify MPs they are home.

In addition to signing up for the checks, residents can take other precautions to protect their homes and belongings. "Anything outside they value needs to be stored inside," Simmons said.
In addition, MPs recommend loaning a trusted neighbor or friend a set of keys to perform additional checks. Also, Families should halt mail service or have the trusted person pick up mail. Unplug any unnecessary electrical appliances to prevent fires or electrical issues.

Emily Natalio, Picerne Military Housing communications specialist, recommends residents contact local neighborhood offices to inform staff of their departure in case of an emergency and sign up for the MP courtesy checks.

These precautions can eliminate residents' worries, about their homes when they're gone
For more information, contact the MP desk at 255-2222.