NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
July 30, 2009
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420


     The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is partnering with the Destin Chamber of Commerce and Destin City Hall to launch a car burglary prevention public awareness campaign in the near future. In the meantime, the public needs to know now that nearly 80 percent of the car burglaries in Okaloosa County show no sign of forced entry.

    Unlocked cars provide an easy target of opportunity for car burglars, who scour both residential and business or tourism areas  alike.   

    There were 726 reported car burglaries countywide in 2008 and nearly 38 percent of those took place in Destin. Another 29 percent occurred in the unincorporated Fort Walton Beach area.

    Thieves typically aim to obtain items ranging from I-Pods,  GPS devices, and cameras to of course wallets and purses. Destin Investigator Stefan Vaughn says the common ripple effect of stolen identification and credit cards is identity theft.

    The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is encouraging you to help protect your belongings by simply locking your car, taking your keys, and hiding or removing any valuables.