As the 2015 holiday season approaches, the Punta Gorda Police Department is implementing a number of proactive measures to provide and promote a safe environment for our residential and commercial customers. Punta Gorda Police Officers and Volunteers on Patrol will be employing high profile proactive patrols during the holiday season.

Both marked and unmarked police personnel will be targeting locations that routinely see increased activity during the holiday season such as ATM machines, banks, stores, restaurants (particularly those open late), and gas stations. Special attention will also be given to the parking lots at these types of locations.

Other high-profile patrol tactics will consist of the following:

• Bike officer patrols will be increased in the business district to enhance police visibility and provide the business community the opportunity to communicate any suspicious activity;

• Downtown foot patrols during and after business hours will be conducted at a higher frequency. Distribution of Nightwatch Cards to our commercial customers will also increase during this period;

• Officers will exit their patrol vehicles and make personal contact with individuals, as well as bank and business managers on a regular basis;

• Administrators and Detectives in unmarked police vehicles will be patrolling through the above-listed areas and parking lots on a more frequent basis;

• “Project Safe Car” flyers will be disseminated at various locations throughout the city to deter automobile burglaries and thefts in an effort to avoid crimes of opportunity;

• Residential zone officers will survey residential areas overnight for open garage doors in accordance with the department’s open garage door crime prevention initiative. When open garage doors are found overnight in residential areas, the resident will be contacted.

Tips for Our Residents and Business Owners

• While out and about, present an alert appearance and do not leave your purse, valuables or other property unattended.
• Try not to shop alone. There is strength in numbers.
• Carry minimal cash and valuables. Using credit/debit cards is safer.
• When shopping, lock your vehicle doors and store packages in the trunk or out of plain view (on the floorboard, under a blanket or clothes, etc).
• Visit ATM’s only at well-lighted and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible.
• If you see anyone or anything suspicious, do not hesitate to call police. We often hear our customers say “I didn’t think it was worthy of calling the police.” Investigation of suspicious circumstances is our business. You are best suited to know when something just does not look right.
• If you are solicited over the phone for money, personal information, or are presented with something that seems too good to be true, contact the Punta Gorda Police Department at (941) 639-4111. No legitimate business that solicits you directly will ask for personal information or financial information up front. Make sure you know who you are talking to on the telephone. Learning about many current scams can save you from being separated from your money.

For more information concerning additional crime prevention measures, contact the Punta Gorda Police Department Community Services Lieutenant Katie Heck at (941) 575-5525. The Punta Gorda Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Prepared by:

Lieutenant Katie Heck
Punta Gorda Police Department
(941) 575-5525