With spring break season having arrived, Sheriff’s Office increasing its presence at beaches and at popular county entertainment establishments

Tips offered to help everyone stay safe

Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is enhancing crime prevention efforts again this year as local students and visitors enjoy the Suncoast during spring break, the agency has announced.

“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,” a news release explains. The Sheriff’s Office also is encouraging beachgoers “to take personal responsibility by staying updated on current CDC guidelines during their visit,” the release adds. (See the related article in this issue.)

Residents and visitors alike should keep the following tips in mind, whether they are staying locally or visiting elsewhere, the release points out:

  • Become familiar with your surroundings, including nearby streets and landmarks.
  • Keep valuables out of sight by locking them in a vehicle trunk or a hotel room safe.
  • Always carry wallets, purses, and room and car keys securely.
  • “Lock the doors and windows at your hotel and always lock your vehicle.
  • “Obey traffic signals and speed limits and 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.
  • “Designate a sober driver or utilize a ride-sharing service.
  • “Be observant and report any and all suspicious activity.
  • “If you are visiting a public beach, remember to ‘pack in and pack out. Keep shorelines litter-free by taking everything with you when you leave.”

“This is a great time of year to experience Sarasota County’s beautiful parks, beaches, and entertainment,” said Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman in the release. “In order to keep our community safe during spring break, we increase education and enforcement efforts but equally as important, we rely on partnerships within the community to deter crime. Citizens are encouraged to connect with our deputies, follow the rules, and if they see something, always say something,” Hoffman added in the release.

Spring break spans the months of March and April in Sarasota County, coinciding with several local events, the release notes. “Crime prevention efforts will enlist multiple agency resources,” the release says, “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 they can call the agency’s non-emergency line at 941-316-1201, the release points out.

Further, members of the public can submit crime tips and receive traffic alerts and local weather updates through the agency’s free mobile app, which is available for download on both iPhone and Android devices. The Sheriff’s Office also encourages people to connect with the agency on social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.