Deputies warn of smash-and-grab burglaries after three cars hit at Sarasota park

Preventing Vehicle Burglaries

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s that time of year where mice may not be stirring but car burglars are.

During the holiday season, there is a spike in car burglars seeking easy opportunities to take valuables from vehicles, which is exactly what the sheriff's office says happened Sunday at Urfer Park in Sarasota. Three vehicles were broken into in smash-and-grab style car burglaries, resulting in stolen purses from each vehicle.

Detectives are reminding the public to be proactive. For starters, if you haven't got this message already, let's spell it out: L-O-C-K Y-O-U-R D-O-O-R-S! This is true for your car and your home. Unlocked doors are the easiest way for burglars to take advantage of your trusting nature.

The sheriff's office also offered these tips on preventing vehicle burglaries:

  • Keep windows closed and doors locked. The majority of local vehicle burglaries are to unlocked cars and the crime wouldn’t happen if the door didn’t open. (Yes, we spelled it out above - but some people may need to see it a couple of times for it to sink in!)
  • Hide your valuables. Stash your things out of sight, preferably in a locked trunk. Even criminals know to check the glove box, under a towel or beneath the seat.
  • If you have an SUV or another model with an open cargo area, get a retractable fitted cover to keep items hidden.
  • Stow your items before you park. Experienced thieves stake out parking lots to watch for people putting items in their trunk.
  • Trust your instincts. Avoid parking in unlit or overly concealed areas. If you see someone suspicious, tell security or contact local law enforcement.

The sheriff's office says a car burglar can smash a window and snatch a purse or other valuable from your vehicle in less than a minute when it's left in plain view. It's even easier when the car is unlocked.

You should try to avoid keeping valuables in your car, but when you can't avoid it, only take what you absolutely need and think ahead, finding places such as your office to stash a valuable to keep it out of your vehicle before you drop it off at its final destination.

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