DON’T LET CRIMINALS RUIN YOUR SUMMER FUN

As our thoughts turn to relaxation and family fun this summer, keep in mind that thieves and burglars don’t take vacations from criminal activity. Stay vigilant about protecting your home, your belongings and your identity. Don’t let crime ruin your summer fun.

The best advice is to stay alert. Be aware of what’s going on in your neighborhood. Never hesitate to report suspicious activity to law enforcement. If you notice activity at your neighbors’ house when you know they are away on vacation, call 911 immediately. Your tip might be the one that helps BSO detectives catch up to an otherwise elusive burglar. If you notice someone lurking around cars in a parking lot, phone in that tip. If you recognize a suspect from a surveillance video, call Crime Stoppers of Broward County. You may remain anonymous, and Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Teaming up and keeping the lines of communication open between law enforcement and observant residents is the best defense against criminals.

At home, lock your doors and don’t forget to arm your alarm systems if you have them. When you are out and about, lock your car doors and never keep valuables in plain view. It only takes a few seconds for a car burglar to grab your purse, wallet or cell phone from your car while you step away to walk your dog, pay for gas or put flowers at a gravesite. Don’t make it easier for criminals by leaving a door unlocked.

Thinking of making some repairs before a hurricane approaches? Be wary of unlicensed contractors. They might take your money and run, do sub-standard work or have a criminal history. To make sure the workers in your home are licensed, visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website at www.myfloridalicense.com.

Be suspicious of anyone who shows up uninvited at your door. Sometimes, criminals knock first, and they can be very charming. They might ask for a drink, for directions, to use the phone or say they were sent to do work at your house. These are common tactics of scam artists and thieves. If you weren’t expecting them, don’t let them in.

Make your house look occupied when you are out. Leave a television or radio on, or set some lamps on timers. If you go away, stop your newspaper delivery and have someone collect your mail. You can even deter burglars with your landscaping. Plant some thorny bushes under windows that might make an illegal entry difficult. Trim back foliage that might block the view of your home from the street, and add some outdoor lighting so that criminals can’t operate unnoticed.

Once you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, your belongings and your family, you can relax and enjoy a fun and safe summer.

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