ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies are reminding people to lock their cars as the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says it sees an uptick in car burglaries this time of year.
The warning comes after a loaded gun, two wallets, a laptop and several other items were stolen from four cars, none of which showed any sign of forced entry and were believed to be unlocked, sometime between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning near Durbin Creek Boulevard in the Julington Creek area, according to Sheriff's Office reports.
It's a trend the Sheriff's Office says it sees every summer. Deputies say one of the main reasons is because a lot of people visit the area and don't lock their cars. In fact, a sign has been posted at Mickler's Landing to remind people.
St. Johns County is known for its tourism, welcoming visitors and residents to its sunny beaches and state parks. On a busy day, the parking lots are often full and out of sight from car owners as they enjoy various activities. But that’s when the Sheriff’s Office says thieves may be lurking.
“They are looking for the unlocked, easy target, if you will," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan. “We have many travelers who come here and they have all of their possessions with them in their car. So rather it be at the beach, at a park or at their hotel, a lot of times, the criminal opportunist will find that there (are) items there that they want to steal.”
The Sheriff’s Office says the key to protecting yourself is making yourself a difficult target. That means making sure all valuables are out of sight and your doors are always locked.
“You just want to make sure that you take every precaution to do what we call ‘target hardening.’ That’s taking every crime prevention aspect as you can and deploying that into your personal life to make you that much safer," Mulligan said.
Simple precautions that only take a matter of seconds will make your trip to the beach, park or store safer and more enjoyable.
A common mistake some people make is thinking you can just cover up your valuables with a jacket or blanket, but the Sheriff’s Office says thieves are often looking for that and some are bold enough to break the windows to steal those items.