NEWS RELEASE #: 17-063
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is enhancing patrols in anticipation of Spring Break visitors coming to town and local students enjoying time off from school.
An increased law enforcement presence at local beaches and popular entertainment establishments is intended to disrupt incidents before they happen and reduce crimes of opportunity. Special attention is being paid to underage drinking and drug possession, as well as traffic enforcement.
The sheriff's office is also posting safety reminders on electronic sign boards that read "Be Beach Smart," "Lock Up Valuable Items," and "Enjoy Your Visit." Additionally, sheriff's office personnel have "Beach Smart" cards with tips to help beach-goers reduce their risk of theft.
"We are fortunate to live in a great community that tourists want to visit and we want both our guests and residents to enjoy this time of year in Sarasota County," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "The beach is a popular place to visit and unfortunately a prime place for crimes of opportunity. Make sure you never leave your personal items unattended and always be aware of your surroundings. This campaign is about people enjoying their vacation, but never to take a vacation from safety."
Keep the following tips in mind, whether you are staying on the suncoast for Spring Break or visiting other areas:
• Lock the doors and windows at your place of lodging and hide spare keys carefully.
• Don't leave valuables out in the open. Lock them in a safe when you are not present or leave them in the care of security personnel.
• Always carry wallets, purses, room and car keys securely.
• Watch out for traffic while crossing the street and always use designated crosswalks.
• When driving, obey speed limits, pay attention to road signs, and watch for pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists.
• If you have valuables in your car, keep them out of sight at all times. Lock them in the trunk, glove box or console. Covering them with a blanket or clothing does not deter criminals.
• Only park in designated, open parking spaces to avoid fines or being towed. Pay attention to time and day restrictions on parking signs.
• If you're traveling with small children, use your cell phone to take a photo of them when you arrive at your destination. This photo will help law enforcement locate your child if you become separated.
• Before your group ventures out, agree on a meeting place in case you become separated from each other.
• If you plan to consume alcohol, know your limits, don't leave drinks unattended, and don't accept an open drink from a stranger.
• Be observant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement, security personnel or hotel management.
• Don't advertise your plans to strangers - in person or online.
Spring Break spans the months of March and April in Sarasota County and coincides with St. Patrick's Day and the Sarasota County Fair. This initiative includes multiple resources of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and mobile assets to reach various areas throughout the county based on specific events and activities.