Lock Your Doors 

Burglary is one of the most invasive forms of crime. Whether someone breaks into your vehicle or home, burglary often leaves the victim feeling violated and outraged. While law enforcement works to arrest the perpetrators of these crimes, Pinellas County citizens can take just a few moments out of their day to prevent becoming a victim.

In 2019, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office responded to more than 1,600 vehicle burglaries, most of which happened with no forced entry. Vehicles are easy targets because they often contain valuable items like laptops, recent store purchases, firearms, purses, and cell phones. Likewise, empty homes are often targeted. Out of the 712 residential burglaries the sheriff’s office responded to in 2019, 294 of the homes had an unlocked door, an ajar door, or no forced entry.

Sometimes the damage inflicted upon the victim isn’t just financial or emotional. A stolen firearm in the wrong hands can bring harm to the community. In 2013, 23-year-old Marco Antonio Parilla, Jr., shot and killed Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles Kondek with a gun he had stolen from an unlocked vehicle.

Here are four key tips to prevent becoming a victim of theft.

  1. Lock Your Doors: Not only does this simple step not cost you any money, it also takes just a few seconds of your time. Regardless of whether you are in a rush or think you are in a safe area, there is never a good excuse to leave your vehicle or home unlocked.
  2. Conceal Valuables: In addition to locking your vehicle’s doors, conceal valuables by putting them in the trunk. In the home, always lock away or hide firearms. Keep the shades drawn when you aren’t there to prevent thieves from peering into your home and planning to commit a crime.
  3. Use an Alarm: Add an alarm system to your home or vehicle in order to scare away criminals before they can take anything. A home alarm system can also alert local law enforcement immediately so that officers can respond as quickly as possible. The Sheriff’s Alarm Registration Program (SHARP) was created following a Pinellas County ordinance in 2009 that requires home and business owners to register their alarm systems with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Subscribers of SHARP receive warnings for the first two false alarms. Go to our website for details and instructions on how to register: https://www.pcsoweb.com/program-services/alarm-registration.
  4. Assess Your Environment: There is a reason most criminals work under the cover of night. The easier it is to hide their presence, the faster they can get away with the crime unnoticed. Park your vehicle in a well-lit or public area if possible. Do an inspection of your home and take note of any areas where a burglar could hide. You can also install floodlights around the perimeter of your house so that you or neighbors can see any suspicious individuals on your property.

Following these tips will help protect yourself, your belongings, and your community. Safety starts with you. Lock your doors and take precautions so that you don’t become a victim of a crime.

Posted by Wednesday, July 1, 2020 9:06:00 AM

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