Variety of tips offered by Sheriff’s Office to ensure a safe spring break season for residents and visitors

March and April the primary months for enhanced patrols in effort to try to prevent problems

Image courtesy of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

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, the office announced this week.

“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,” a news release explains. “Special attention is being paid to underage drinking and drug possession, as well as traffic enforcement,” the release adds.

The Sheriff’s Office is posting safety reminders on electronic sign boards; they read, “Be Beach Smart,” “Lock Up Valuable Items” and “Enjoy Your Visit.” The agency also is distributing tourist safety cards with tips to help beach-goers reduce their risk of theft, the release notes.

“We are fortunate to live in a great community where tourists want to visit,” said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. “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,” he added in the release.

The beach is a popular place to visit, he continued. However, it also can be a prime location for crimes of opportunity. People should remember never to leave personal items unattended, the release points out, and they always should be aware of their surroundings.

“This spring break safety campaign is about people enjoying their vacation, but never taking a vacation from safety,” Knight pointed out in the release.

Members of the public are encouraged to keep the following tips in mind, whether they are staying on the Suncoast for spring break or visiting other areas, the release stresses:

  • 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.
Deputy Valentino on Honor and Deputy Kern on Sentinel pause on patrol on Siesta Public Beach. Image courtesy of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter

Spring break spans the months of March and April in Sarasota County and coincides with several local spring events, including the Sarasota County Fair, the release points out.

As always, residents and visitors may contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office by dialing 911, or they may reach the agency’s non-emergency line at 941-316-1201.

The Sheriff’s Office also encourages the public to connect with its officers on social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.