Belleair Police Chief talks to Rotarians about crime
Published: September 18, 2013   |
Updated: September 18, 2013 at 05:05 PM
BELLEAIR – Belleair Police Chief Tom Edwards recently told members of the Belleair Rotary Club that the most typical crimes that occur in the town of Belleair involve assets and property; very few crimes involve violence against persons.
Crimes against assets most often take the form of computer/internet fraud, the chief said. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime, as they are prone to be overly trusting of others. Internet scams often take the form of email that appears to come from a bank or credit card-company that claims to be investigating a problem with the customer’s account. The email typically requests personal information (such as account number, date of birth and social security number) to help them solve the problem. This personal information is used by the criminal to obtain phony credit cards, phony bank accounts, or even to file a phony tax return.
Crimes against property most often involve burglaries to automobiles and homes. The number one contributing cause of vehicular burglaries is an unlocked car. If a car is going to be left for a period of time outside of a garage, the owner should be sure to lock it securely and place all personal items out of sight. A driver should never leave the keys in the ignition of their vehicle while they run inside a store; many a car has been stolen as a result.
Home burglaries most often occur because the owner has left a window open or unlocked. If you are either going to bed or leaving your home, you should make sure that all windows and doors are shut and locked and that the alarm is on. If you are leaving for vacation, let your neighbors know to watch your property, cancel the mail or arrange to have a neighbor collect it, and consider attaching a timer to a light to make it appear that someone is home.
These simple precautions can help to ensure that the internet user, automobile owner, and the home owner do not become the victims of crime.
The police chief was born and raised in Pinellas county as well as his wife of 33 years and two adult children. A graduate of St. Petersburg College with an Associate of Arts in Police Administration, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Florida State University. He has also completed course work for a masters Degree in Criminal Justice at the University of South Florida.
He retired after 32 years of active service with the St. Petersburg Police Department then continued on two more years as a reserve police officer while he was the Assistant Director for Code Enforcement for the City of St. Petersburg. For the past seven years he has been the Police Chief of the Belleair Police Department.
The Belleair Rotary Club meets every Thursday at 12:15 p.m., at the Belleair Country Club.