Thefts of opportunity are up on Longboat Key, crimes that police say are preventable with "common sense."
Police on Longboat Key say they've noticed an uptick in theft reports on the island, and the suspects are often people invited into the homes of the victims.
Tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry left unsecured have been stolen from Longboat Key homes by exterminators, repair people and contractors in the past three months, crimes of opportunity rather than premeditation, said Police Chief Pete Cumming.
“People are just leaving things out,” Cumming said. “They’re not burglaries, they're not intruders, they’re people invited to the house, and they’re stealing.”
While Cumming said he can't say why his department is hearing more of these reports, there are things that can be done to keep such things from happening.
Cumming said the best thing is to simply stow jewelry in a safe place when strangers are in the home. Secondly, Cumming said, don't allow service people or repair people to freely roam unaccompanied. Keep an eye on them, he said.
“We’re making cases on these people but were not always getting all the stuff back,” Cumming said. “It’s always better to prevent this stuff than it is to catch a perpetrator.”
Cumming said it's not a matter of hiring a well-known company vs. one with a lesser-known reputation. Anyone can be tempted, he said.
“It's best to just to be safe with your personal property and use common sense,” Cumming said. “Be aware, and don’t leave things out. Sometimes temptation is all it takes.”