Sheriff's Corner

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By The Staff

This program provides the marine community with the same benefits and protection that neighborhood watch does in other areas. The emphasis is on prevention and deterrence by practicing simple common sense precautions which reduces thefts, vandalism and other criminal activities. This is accomplished by:

* Educating boat owners and the marine community to carry out simple crime prevention measures.

* Encouraging all waterway users to develop a community spirit and report suspicious incidents.

* Developing a close liaison with police to ensure a two-way flow of information.

The scope of marine crime is very broad ranging from theft of vessels and equipment, to crimes against individuals, fraud, drugs, environmental crimes, boating offenses, and wildlife violations. Every year thousands of dollars worth of boats and equipment are stolen and property vandalized. The marine community is not exempt from all types of illegal activity such as narcotics and violent crime.

The primary goal is to deter theft, vandalism and all criminal activity in the marine environment community by reporting suspicious or criminal incidents to law enforcement. There are many things that you can do to protect yourself and your property from criminal activity. Any crime prevention technique which requires a suspect to spend more time, make more of an effort, or to be more visible during the commission of a crime, may discourage the suspect altogether.

Utilize the best locks you can afford. Most thieves are opportunists and seek out easy entry. It is also a sensible idea to remove as many items as practicable when you leave your boat unattended. When securing your vessel, take home as much gear as you can. If it is not practical to take it with you, store it aboard out of sight in a cabinet or locker with good quality locks. If possible you need to mark your valuables with an engraver and photograph or video your valuables. This will help law enforcement identified your property if you are a victim of marine theft.

Many thieves are successful because they look as if they belong in an area. Be sure to always lock your vehicle when parked at a launch site, marina or dock. Remember to keep all windows secured and to remove any valuables from sight. If you are not taking your purse, cell phone, or other property, then lock it in the trunk while you are gone.

Be mindful and alert to any suspicious vehicles or persons who are lingering in the area. Record license numbers of suspicious vehicles and try to obtain physical descriptions of any suspicious persons who may have been observed loitering in the area.

Remember, vigilance is an important key to deterrence. Observing what is going on around you at all times and remembering these few safety tips can help deter crime.