Sheriff's Message History

Vehicle Burglaries on the Rise

June 10, 2014

From January 1st through May 31st we have seen a more than 31% increase in thefts from motor vehicles from this same time last year, jumping from 161 in 2013 to 211 this year.  Though members of the Sheriff's Office have done a great job with arresting many of the offenders, there are things you can do to protect yourself from being a victim in the first place. 

More than 66% of these vehicles were left unlocked.  Items from loose change to firearms have been taken.  If you take the small, added step to lock your doors, you will deter most criminal activity as these offenders are opportunistic.  Meaning if you give someone easy access to your valuables, they will take them.  We recently arrested a group that said they came to Charlotte County because they heard people here do not secure their cars and felt we were an easy target.  They were correct.

We do have those that will smash windows to obtain entry.  More often than not this is because they have seen that you have left something of value in your car that they want.  So another reminder is to not leave valuables in your car.  We have groups that hit various public parking lots at places such as gyms, parks, schools, churches, etc. because they know many people leave valuables in their vehicles while at these types of locations and see them as easy targets.

So whether you are at home or out in the public, please take the time to lock your cars and remove your valuables.  If you do all this and still become a victim, know what you own.  A lap top is simply a lap top unless you know the make, model, and serial number for yours.  This holds true for televisions, firearms, etc.  If you have the misfortune to be victimized and you have this information available, this will increase the solvability factors and help us get your property back to you.

One other thing before I go.  We have noticed a strange phenomenon.   Residents are leaving their vehicles unlocked with the keys in them.  Not really a good idea as we have also noticed a slight increase in vehicle thefts because of this behavior.

We like to think we live in a crime free county, but unfortunately we do not.  Though we see our fair share of crime, Charlotte County is a very safe place to live.  But there are things you can do to help protect yourself from being a victim.  The good news is that we are still showing decreases in our overall crime rate for the first half of the year.   But all it can take sometimes is one person or group to rummage through a neighborhood to drive the crime rate up.

Protect yourself, watch out for your neighbors, and be safe.

Thank you,

Sheriff Bill Prummell

View previous Sheriff's Messages