With the winter holiday season quickly approaching I am once again compelled to encourage everyone to prevent crime by eliminating opportunity. There are many steps that you can take to protect yourself and your valuables from a holiday thief.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to remain aware of your surroundings. This means taking the extra time to park in well lit areas, and to look for suspicious people loitering nearby before getting out of your car. If you see something or someone that makes you feel uncomfortable, move to another parking area and/or report your suspicions to security guards, or a law enforcement officer. We would much rather investigate a suspicious person report than a violent crime. Other suggestions include limiting the amount of cash and credit cards you carry while shopping, and when possible, avoid shopping alone.
The most effective way to protect your valuables is to properly secure them. One of the most common points of entry for car burglars is through an unlocked door or an open window. You would be surprised how many vehicle burglaries we investigate because owners simply did not lock their cars. By locking your car doors, and closing windows completely, this is arguably one of the most preventable crimes. For this reason, locking your car doors and windows is especially important during the holiday season when many people travel from one location to another while shopping. It is also recommended that you place gifts, packages, and other valuables in the trunk of your car or at least move them out of plain view. Purses, wallets, gift cards, portable electronics, and cash are all an open invitation for a criminal to break into your car.
By taking a few minutes to protect yourself and your belongings you may prevent a crime. By doing so you are once again helping us in “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas.”
If you would like other suggestions regarding holiday safety please contact the Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 582-5611.