A strange thing happened after a windstorm a couple of weeks ago. I saw a New York State Police car show up at my neighbor’s camp. The trooper got out, and carried into the nearby woods the fairly large top of a tree that had fallen in front of the building. It took him four or five trips to get all the branches into the woods. When he was done, he climbed back into his car and drove away.
So what was the State Trooper doing clearing my neighbor’s yard of blowdown? Turns out, my neighbor is one of many part-time residents in the region who get New York State Police protection for seasonal camps as a part of the State Police’s Posted Property Program. A program, that “has been around longer than anyone currently with our agency can remember,” according to a State Police spokesperson. Homes so designated are posted with the sign you see here.
“As a service to the public, we post and inspect summer homes, summer camps and similar buildings that are unoccupied from October 1 to May 1,” I was told in an e-mail, “this merely entails occasional checks of the property when a trooper is on patrol in the area of the property.”
The next time I saw a trooper make a stop at the cabin across the way (he was checking the door handle), I asked why he cleared that downed treetop. He told me he had cleared the debris because he didn’t want the house to appear unoccupied. He also told me that he stops every time he patrols the area – I’ve seen him show up every few days, and no doubt have missed a few of his visits.
According to the State Police spokesperson, the agency does not post buildings located in villages that have an organized police departments, buildings that are not secure, or summer motels, hotels or other commercial property. Presumably they are required to protect their own property by using a local security firm.
I suspect the State Police keep the program pretty hush-hush. After all, it wouldn’t take too many folks taking advantage of their free home security program to keep police too busy for speed traps or safety belt road blocks.
According to the State Police, property owners who want their tax supported local security services between October and May should send a letter to their local Troop Commander and include the following information:
—the exact location of the property
—the owner’s name, winter address and a phone number where they can be contacted in an emergency, and
—if there is a caretaker, their name, address and phone number(s)
Oh . . . and don’t forget to call the security folks in town and let them know you’ve found someone better—someone who actually keeps the yard clear, and carries a gun.