The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is enhancing crime prevention efforts again this year as Spring Break visitors come to the area and local students enjoy their time off from school. An increased law enforcement presence at local beaches and popular entertainment establishments is intended to prevent crimes of opportunity and disrupt incidents before they occur.
The sheriff’s office is posting safety reminders on electronic sign boards that read “Be Beach Smart,” “Lock Up Valuable Items,” and “Enjoy Your Visit.” Deputies are also distributing “Beach Smart” cards with tips to help tourists and beachgoers reduce their risk of theft.
“It is a beautiful time of year to visit Sarasota County and while we want citizens to enjoy their stay, we also want them to make safety a priority,” commented Sheriff Tom Knight. “Leaving your cell phone under your towel while you go for a swim creates an opportunity for thieves. Citizens should never leave personal items unattended and always be aware of their surroundings. This spring break safety campaign is about people enjoying their vacation, but never taking a vacation from safety.”
Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to keep the following tips in mind, whether they are staying on the suncoast for spring break or visiting elsewhere:
• Become familiar with your surroundings including nearby streets and landmarks.
• Keep valuables out of sight by locking them in the trunk or hotel room safe.
• Always carry wallets, purses, room and car keys securely.
• Lock the doors and windows at your hotel and always lock your vehicle.
• Obey traffic signals and speed limits, avoid any distractions.
• Utilize crosswalks and sidewalks. Make your presence known to motorists.
• Never advertise your plans to strangers - in person or online.
• Stay with your group and never leave with a stranger.
• Keep your drink in sight and never accept open drinks from people you do not know.
• Have a designated driver or utilize a taxi service.
• Be observant and report any and all suspicious activity.
Spring break spans the months of March and April in Sarasota County and coincides with several local events including the Sarasota County Fair and spring training baseball. Crime prevention efforts will enlist multiple agency resources including mobile assets to reach various areas throughout the county based on specific events and activities.
As always, residents and visitors can contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office by dialing 911, or the agency’s non-emergency line at 941.316.1201. Citizens can submit crime tips, receive traffic alerts and local weather updates through the agency’s free mobile app available for download on both iPhone and Android devices. The sheriff’s office also encourages citizens to connect with them on social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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