October 2016 Update:
Lt. Monte reported that there were several car entries in September, and reminds residents to be diligent in locking their cars!
There were also several boats that were boarded and electronics were stolen. These crimes are under investigation.
Another issue was a resident who put a check in the mailbox for a contractor, and it was stolen. Lt. Monte suggests that residents either mail or hand-deliver these items.
There were several home rental scams reported and Lt. Monte asks residents to be vigilant and report suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Read below about Tip 411 to anonymously report activity.
New Scams and auto invasions on Island Estates
Lt. Monte reported that there have been some new scams and some auto invasions on Island Estates.
This scam targets people looking for vacation rentals. Scammers find property listings from realtor websites and post the property on CraigsList, HomeAway, VRBO, or other rental sites. They collect a deposit from the renter, but when the renter arrives at the property, it is not for available for rent.
In most cases, the homeowner is NOT aware of this and several have been very surprised to find that their home was listed.
The renter loses their deposit and they have no place to stay. The Clearwater Police Department has been actively working to stop this scam. An article about their efforts was recently run in the Tampa Bay Times. Click here to read the article.
The Clearwater Police has investigated several reports of unlocked vehicles being entered and ransacked. Lt. Monte reports that these are typically crimes of opportunity, and the best way to protect yourself is to remember to lock your vehicle. He adds that these crimes typically rise during spring break. All reports are under investigation.
Programs to protect residents are offered by the Clearwater Police Department:
Fraud Hotline - Call 727-562-4424
Citizen's Observer program that sends Clearwater Police Department alerts to registered residents.
Click here for more information.
Lock, Take, Secure - Help reduce crime by removing valuables from your parked vehicles and locking them.
Be Smart with your Smartphone - Smartphone theft is the fastest growing crime in the US today. Be careful with your smartphone and keep it secure
The Clearwater Police Department also reminds residents to Beware of Scams.
Meet Lt. Anthony Monte, our Clearwater Police contact for Island Estates
Lieutenant Anthony Monte, the commander of the Beach District, has been with the Clearwater Police Department since 1996. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 2014 in the Criminal Investigations Division.
Lt. Monte took over command of the Beach District, which includes Clearwater Beach, Island Estates and Sand Key, in June of 2015. He succeeded Lieutenant William Valveri, who was promoted to Major and moved to the Support Services Division.
- Click here for more information
Barrier Island Re-Entry Program
This new program will control access to the barrier islands including Island Estates, Sand Key and Clearwater following a hurricane or other event that requires evacuation of these islands. The goal is to completely restrict access to the islands to residents who want to return before the islands are reopened to regular traffic, including contractors. Hopefully this will protect the safety of residents and local business operators, as well as prevent looting.
The plan is to register each resident and business and issue placards that hang on a car rear view mirror. Registration consists only of giving a name, address and telephone number.