Sheriff’s Office offering reminders to help people stay safe during Spring Break this month and in April

More law enforcement personnel will be visible at beaches and other popular destinations, the office says

Image courtesy Sheriff's Office
Image courtesy Sheriff’s Office

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, the office has announced.

“An increased law enforcement presence at local beaches and popular entertainment establishments is intended to stop crimes before they occur,” a news release says. “Special attention is being paid to underage drinking and drug possession, as well as traffic enforcement,” it adds.

Spring Break spans the months of March and April and coincides with St. Patrick’s Day and the Sarasota County Fair, the release points out.

The Sheriff’s Office is also posting safety reminders on electronic signboards that read, “Be Beach Smart,” “Lock Up Valuable Items” and “Enjoy Your Visit,” the release notes. In addition, Sheriff’s Office personnel have “Beach Smart” cards with tips to help beachgoers reduce their risk of theft, the release continues.

“It’s 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,” said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release.

“Leaving your wallet or cellphone under your towel while you go for a swim creates an opportunity for thieves,” Knight added in the release. “These are the types of crimes we hope to prevent with this safety campaign.”

The Sheriff’s Office offers these safety tips for people traveling or visiting local tourist destinations:

  • Lock the doors and windows at your place of lodging.
  • Do not leave valuables in your room. Lock them in a safe if possible.
  • Always carry wallets, purses and room and car keys securely.
  • When crossing the street, use crosswalks and available traffic signals, and always make sure motorists see you before you step out into the road.
  • When driving, obey speed limits, avoid distractions and watch for pedestrians.
  • Always lock your vehicle when it is parked as well as when you are traveling in it.
  • Keep valuables out of sight by locking them in the trunk, glove box or console. Covering them with a blanket or tucking them under the seat does not deter criminals.
  • Remember where you park vehicle and which beach access you use.
  • If you are traveling with small children, use your cellphone to take photos of them when you arrive at your destination. This photo will help law enforcement officers locate you child if you become separated from him or her.
  • Never go out alone and don’t ever leave a public place with a stranger.
  • If you plan to consume alcohol, know your limits, don’t leave drinks unattended, don’t accept an open drink from a stranger and never drink and drive.
  • Be observant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement officers, security personnel or hotel management.
  • Do not advertise your plans to strangers — in person or online.

For more information, watch the Sheriff’s Office YouTube video on the Spring Break Safety Initiative