Don’t leave valuables in your cars

CLEWISTON — Since Jan. 1, 2019, residents have experienced 11 vehicle burglaries, and it appears they are targeting cash and firearms. Surrounding counties have reported an uptick in vehicle burglaries as well, some as high as 51 since Jan. 1.

These thieves are looking for low-hanging fruit, and your unsecured valuables are low-hanging fruit. Thieves spend their days and nights walking around our city, your neighborhood and looking for crimes of opportunity. They are walking up to your cars, checking the door handles and, if they are unlocked, they are taking anything of any value with them.

Don’t let them take the items you work hard for!

“We realize that sometimes we forget, and that happens, but seriously, people, please lock your car doors!” said Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden. “Please don’t become a victim to these senseless crimes. All of the vehicles that were entered had unlocked doors.”

• The easiest way to avoid becoming a victim is to remove any valuable items from your vehicle.

• If you must leave your vehicle parked in a driveway or on the street, make sure your vehicle is locked. Criminals will often walk down neighborhood streets at night and check doors on vehicles.

• If this is unavoidable, keep the valuables out of sight.

• Utilize some type of anti-theft device on your vehicle. Any deterrent you can place on your car to make it less of a target for thieves is helpful.

• Park your vehicle in a well-lit area and away from overgrown shrubbery or any other large items that would allow a crook to hide.

• The best defense against becoming a victim of a vehicle burglary is to secure your vehicle inside a garage.

• We also want to remind you to keep your garage doors closed. Just like in the case of an unlocked car, an open garage door is an invitation to a thief to steal from you. Oftentimes, easy access through an open garage door also means easy access into the home. Protect you family and your belongings by keeping your garage doors closed during all hours of the day.

• Locking your doors should apply to any location you happen to be, whether it’s in a store parking lot or at a gym.

• Lock your car doors.

Remain alert and report any suspicious people, vehicles or circumstances in your neighborhood. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you are interested in establishing a crime watch in your neighborhood, you may either call us or email us at rggarci@hendrysheriff.org.

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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