New Year's Eve safety

Crime analyst says burglaries increase on this night


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration and relaxing, but it’s also a time when criminals have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting people. A lot of people will be out and about tonight, but there will also be more police out trying to make sure everyone is safe. 

It’s something most people forget about once they leave to celebrate. You leave your house and may not come back until some point tomorrow. Burglars know there will be more empty homes than normal tonight.

"Leave a light on, make sure your alarm is set. If you don’t have one, have a neighbor look out for your house. Close all your curtains, just to make sure your home is secure," said Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst.

Another area of concern for police tonight is celebratory gunfire. It makes it especially difficult for them because so many people are also shooting off fireworks to celebrate the new year.

"Sometimes people think that since it’s New Year’s Eve, it’s OK to fire off a shot into the ground. No, it’s still illegal to discharge a firearm under any circumstances unless it’s for self-defense or something like that. You can’t go firing off your shotgun, your handgun, or any kind of weapon," Smith said.

If you are heading out to the Landing, the party gets started at 4, but you’re going to need your ID because starting at 6, it is going to be 21 and up.

"There was an event on Facebook and there was over 2,000 people (who) said they were coming and 15,000 interested, so it's probably going to be pretty big," said Brent Delwater, who spoke to News4Jax from The Landing Sunday evening.

Children will still be allowed into the landing as long as they are with a parent at all times. There will also be a lot of extra police officers on hand making sure everyone is safe.

"That’s what people are looking for, people who are looking to do harm. To catch people who have their guard down, to catch people while they are being lax, to catch people while they are preoccupied," Smith said.

A lot of people will be wearing heavier jackets tonight because of the colder weather, but police still are asking people to be on high alert and if you see something, say something.