NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2009
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420


     The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is reminding residents and visitors to remember to lock your car doors. Nine car break-ins were reported Wednesday alone and in each case, the doors were unlocked. 

     In fact, nearly 80 percent of the 789 car burglaries that occurred in Okaloosa County in 2008 showed no signs of forced entry.

    Unlocked cars provide an easy target of opportunity for thieves, who often simply scour residential, business, or tourism areas checking door handles.   

    They typically aim to obtain items ranging from I-Pods,  GPS devices, and cameras to wallets, purses and guns. 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. Also, if you spot any suspicious behavior, contact the Sheriff's Office at 651-7400 or 689-5705.