JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is putting out a warning that this time of year crooks are hitting unlocked cars in higher numbers, and the Sheriff's Office is getting creative about how they warn residents.
It's a story that has been all over the news before, about people stealing from unlocked cars. Crooks will often just walk from car to car testing door handles until they find one that opens and then ransack the vehicle.
The sheriff's office knows this is a common practice and is putting out another reminder in a somewhat subtle way.
As a police agency, the Sheriff's Office works tirelessly to get out messages about crime problems in the city, and with an ever increasingly online world, they're big on social media. As the JSO's public information officer, Melissa Bujeda is the person in charge of handling the Sheriff's Office online presence.
"The public information office handles JSO's Facebook posts as well as all the social media," Bujeda said.
When it comes social media posts the Sheriff's Office puts out about crimes like the recent rash of car burglaries, Bujeda said she has no problem with people taking and reposting those stories.
"Oh, absolutely not. We want to get the word out," Bujeda said.
Getting the word out like JSO's recent Facebook post on the unlocked vehicle burglaries:
"We are getting hammered with thefts from vehicles and burglaries to vehicles. HAMMERED. We are busy working to secure doors and garages, but we need some help. In a perfect world, you should be able to leave cash and jewelry unsecured in your driveway with a big red neon sign pointing to it without it being stolen. Unfortunately the world we live in, is not that way.
"Even if you do not have valuables in your car, the thieves don't know that until they go through it. People do not steal items from cars because they want money for their yearly mission trip to feed starving puppies in Burundi. Often, they are stealing to get money for drugs. Doing drugs leads to poor choices that can lead to all kinds of less than awesome things.
"We're starting to see an uptick in auto burglaries and mostly unlocked vehicles. And specifically we're seeing guns being stolen out of these vehicles. Those guns are getting in the hands of criminals and we don't know what they're doing with them."
"So please, for the love of starving puppies in Burundi, lock your car, remove your valuables, and close your garage doors!"
"We have posts every once in a while that go pretty viral, and it seems that this one went that path. We're glad. we want to do funny interesting stuff to get the word out," Bujeda said.
Bujeda also said that with thefts typically increasing this time of year, with kids out of school and more time on their hands, any tool that helps curb the uptick in crime is more than welcome.