Anaheim police volunteers check in on seniors, help protect homes while residents are out of town

Jessica De Nova Image
Friday, December 16, 2022
Anaheim volunteers help protect homes while residents are out of town
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The Anaheim Police Department has volunteer programs helping keep seniors safe and home protected while those living in them are out of town.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- The Anaheim Police Department has volunteer programs helping keep senior citizens safe and homes protected while those living in them are out of town.

It's how volunteers like Alice O'Keefe and Frank Lansner spend a lot of their free time, as part of the Police Department's Vacation House Check and You Are Not Alone (YANA) programs.

Beverly allowed Eyewitness News into her home during one of the visits. She said she was used to seeing a couple volunteers show up weekly.

"I've made it part of my life that they'll be here on Wednesday," Beverly said, adding that the volunteers' presence gave her some company and peace of mind.

"I look forward to them coming," she said.

"You're their lifeline to the community," O'Keefe said. "They rely on people coming to their homes for their social interaction."

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Said Beverly: "I'm not sick or I'm not needing them all that much. But they leave you with a feeling that if I did that, I could."

The year-round programs are free, and the 60 volunteers enrolled leave sworn officers available to respond to crime-related calls.

Rocio Burress, a senior crime prevention specialist and volunteer coordinator, said the checks around the outside of properties may even prevent break-ins.

"We haven't had anybody get broken into while they're on vacation and our volunteers are overseeing, are patrolling the area," Burress said. "We usually have many, many repeat customers, so I'm guessing that, by that, everybody enjoys the volunteers coming by."

O'Keefe and Lansner said they had a good time giving back to their communities.

"We'd like more volunteers," Lansner said. "This is a nice program. It's a way to give back to the city. Anaheim is a great city and you get to see a lot of the city when you do this."

Anyone wanting to register for a home or senior check, or wanting to volunteer for these programs, can do so on the Anaheim Police Department's website or by calling the agency at (714) 765-1918.