Sheriff Knight Reminds Citizens to Lock Car Doors

                                                                                                                NEWS RELEASE #: 16-217 - DECEMBER 1, 2016

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is encouraging residents and visitors to help crack down on vehicle burglaries – a crime of opportunity that can be stopped in a few simple steps.

Over the holiday weekend, the sheriff's office responded to several vehicle burglaries in Gulf View Estates in Sarasota, Woodmere Park and Jacaranda West in Venice, and on Bayshore Road in Nokomis. In almost every burglary, the vehicle was left unlocked. Additionally, a car with keys in the ignition that was parked inside an open garage, was stolen. Investigators are using this opportunity to remind the public that crimes like these can be prevented if citizens take a proactive approach to protecting their valuables.

Consider the following common sense tips to avoid becoming a victim:

1. Keep vehicle windows closed and doors locked. The majority of burglaries are to unlocked cars.
2. Hide your valuables. Stash personal items out of sight, preferably in a locked trunk. Even criminals know to check the glove box, under a towel or beneath the seat.
3. Never leave your vehicle unattended with keys on the seat or in the ignition.
4. Never keep spare car keys inside your vehicle.
5. When leaving the house, don't open your garage door until you are ready to go. If you forget something inside, turn off your vehicle and shut the garage door until you are ready to depart.
6. Take your garage door opener with you when leaving your vehicle. If someone steals it, they will be able to open your garage and possibly access your home.
7. Alarm your vehicle. Many people believe that alarms no longer make a difference, however, they are still an effective deterrent to a burglar.
8. Trust your instincts. Avoid parking in unlit or overly concealed areas. If you see someone suspicious, contact law enforcement.

"Unfortunately the holiday season is prime time for auto burglaries," said Sheriff Knight. "Criminals are looking to take advantage of shoppers, party goers and everyday citizens who forget to lock up. It's a simple step that will protect your property and ensure you and your family have a safe holiday."