Charlotte County residents who live on the water or near a boat storage facility may begin noticing the Sheriff’s Office aviation unit flying overhead more often. This increase in aerial patrol of boat yards, marinas and the waterline is in response to the statewide trend of boat and boat motor thefts. In addition to routine patrols by the deputies in a district, specialty units are also monitoring activity in these areas.
“The additional patrols on the ground may go unnoticed by most residents,” stated Public Information Officer Katie Heck. “More often, people will notice when our aviation unit is flying and be concerned that there is a crime occurring in their area.” Heck encourages the public to stay informed about law enforcement activity in their area by downloading the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Mobile App or following the Sheriff’s Office on Twitter (@ccsoflsheriff).
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit recommends the following practices to make your vessel a hard target for criminals, whether it is stored at home or in a boat yard/marina.
• Record all of your boat’s information such as serial numbers, ID codes, and HIN. Take photos, and mark your property with a unique code, such as your house number.
• Install an alarm system designed for the marine environment – criminals don’t like to make noise or attract attention. Dock lights triggered by motion are an inexpensive means to deter theft.
• Secure your vessel. Lock the boat and ignition system, and keep your key in your residence.
• Don’t forget to check your security measures to ensure they are working, and also take this time to double check your insurance policies and confirm you have coverage.
As always, residents are encouraged to be vigilant and report any unusual activities they observe at the time they occur. Examples of suspicious activity could be vessels running without lights, carrying multiple large containers on deck or people loitering in the areas of residential docks and public marinas, especially in the late night and early morning hours.
Contact 941-639-0013 to report suspicious activity immediately.