The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is enhancing crime prevention efforts and 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 posting safety reminders on electronic sign boards that read “Be Beach Smart,” “Lock Up Valuable Items,” and “Enjoy Your Visit.” The agency is also distributing tourist safety cards with tips to help beach-goers reduce their risk of theft.
“We are fortunate to live in a great community where tourists want to visit,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “That’s why we are enhancing efforts to ensure both our residents and visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience this time of year in Sarasota County. The beach is a popular place to visit however, it can also be a prime location for crimes of opportunity. Citizens should remember to 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.”
Citizens are encouraged to keep the following tips in mind, whether they are staying on the suncoast for spring break or visiting other areas:
- Become familiar with your surroundings including nearby streets and landmarks.
- Keep valuables secured in your vehicle or hotel room and consider using a room safe.
- Never leave purses, wallets, cell phones or room keys unattended.
- Lock the doors and windows at your hotel and always lock your vehicle.
- Obey traffic signals and speed limits.
- 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 do not accept open drinks from people you do not know.
- Have a designated driver or utilize a taxi service.
- Report any and all suspicious activity.
Spring break spans the months of March and April in Sarasota County and coincides with several local spring events including the Sarasota County Fair. 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. The sheriff’s office also encourages citizens to connect with them on social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.