Property crimes are up; police offer tips
Your St. Petersburg water bill will soon help you fight crime. Printed on the bills will be the St. Petersburg Police Department's "Top 10 Tips" for keeping your automobile, home and person safe.
The list is being distributed at a time when the latest statistics show that St. Petersburg is following the national trend during this recession: Property crimes, such as burglaries, auto thefts and robberies, increased 10.6 percent during the first six months of 2009.
"The fortunate thing about property crime," said Chief Chuck Harmon, "is there are definite things you can do to help prevent it."
• Always lock your vehicle.
• Use an alarm system that disables the ignition.
• Use an antitheft device that locks the steering wheel.
• Don't leave anything in plain view in your car. Better yet, never leave anything of value in there, including the trunk.
• If you own a vacant building or go away, check it regularly or have a neighbor do so.
• Install good door locks, and don't forget to use them. Lock all windows while away.
• Make your home look occupied while you are away. Have someone keep the yard clean and leave blinds or curtains in their normal position. Use a timer to turn on lights, radios or televisions.
• When shopping, scan the parking lot for suspicious people before exiting your car.
• Stay alert and trust your instincts. If something looks wrong, it probably is wrong.
• If there is a suspicious person in your neighborhood, call the police communications center at (727) 893-7780. If there is an emergency, always dial 911.