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It goes without saying that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are working from home.

Spring break is now upon us, which means kids are home alone, as well.

While it’s true most crooks look for empty houses when they think about committing burglaries, there are some criminals out there looking to take advantage of people who are home alone — especially the elderly and children.

Here are some safety tips we’d like you to pass along to those who are most vulnerable:

  • Be aware of people knocking on your door to offer services you did not request, soliciting to sell you goods and/or services. They may try to tell you that something in your home needs repair – but don’t fall for it. Send them away and call someone you know to check it out in case you have a concern. They can be very smooth talking and convincing but if you did not request their services ask them to leave — and if you have any issues, call law enforcement.
  • Pay attention to notes left on your door and do not allow unwanted strangers into your home for any reason.
  • Be aware of people knocking on your door or stopping you in your front yard asking for help to find a lost child or pet. We all want to help others, however, we need to be vigilant for our own safety.
  • Keep your home secure at all times! Keep garage doors as well as all exterior doors locked and secured whether you are home or not.
  • Find a trusted neighbor or friend you can call should someone come knocking on your door, so that they can come over in case of emergency.
  • Put up a “No Trespassing” or “No Solicitation” sign in the window near your entry door.
  • Consider security devices such as camera doorbells that allow you to talk to the visitor without opening your door.
  • As always, please dial 911 in an emergency, and you can always call our non-emergency line at 863-298-6200 if you’re worried or scared.

People often tell us, “I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t want to bother you” – but it’s our mission to keep you safe, and it’s truly no bother at all.

Grady Judd is the Sheriff of Polk County. Learn more about Judd and the Polk County Sheriff's Office at polksheriff.org.