New Program Aims To Fight Crime In Sandy

May 24, 2021, 5:59 PM | Updated: 9:17 pm

SANDY, Utah — Police launched a new initiative to fight an alarming surge in car and home burglaries in Sandy. The program is called Vacation Watch and it allows officers to patrol a resident’s neighborhood and check on their home while they’re away.

“We are just trying to offer more resources to the community,” said Lt. Dean Carriger with the Sandy Police Department. “Sandy is a great place to live, work, play, but we are not immune to criminal activity.”

In fact, when it comes to the number of home burglaries, Sandy saw about an 80% jump from 2019 to 2020.

In 2019, they had 661 home burglaries and that number increased to 1,097 in 2020.

Car burglaries had about a 25% jump, going from 199 in 2019 to 248 in 2020.

Carriger attributed a lot of that to the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot more people were working from home, more cars home during the day time, a lot of garage doors left open while people are home,” he said.

Last year, they started the Sandy Secure Initiative to teach residents through video and messages about how to stay safe. The new element in that is the Vacation Watch program, which is a free service to Sandy residents.

“We are looking to see if there might be anybody around the house, if there is anything suspicious — maybe a door that is open, windows that are open, someone walking around the home,” said Carriger.

Back in February, the McDonalds family, who live in Sandy, were the victims of a car burglary, which they captured on home surveillance video.

The suspects broke into nearly two dozen cars in their neighborhood.

“It’s violating. When someone comes through and violates that trust, it’s kind of heart breaking,” said Jenny McDonald.

Still, the McDonalds said they feel very safe, but also have their own security set up around their house. The system includes alarms on all their doors, censors on all their windows and five security cameras surrounding their home.

“Obviously I don’t want anything bad to happen to my family,” said Garth McDonald. “I just don’t want anyone walking into my house.”

Jenny believes the Vacation Watch program is a good idea, adding that it’s another element to what they already do when leaving on vacation, like notifying friends and neighbors who can watch their home.

“It can’t hurt, and to have [police] on your side I think is a good thing,” she said.

Garth said he was worried about privacy issues.

“I’m worried that information could be used in a way I did not intend,” he said.

But Police said all information given on the website is completely private.

“It’s confidential information. It’s secured. It comes in through a secured server,” said Carriger.

More information about the program can be found on the city’s website.

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New Program Aims To Fight Crime In Sandy