Sarasota News Leader

06/13/2014

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After reviewing data for a special directed patrol initiative on Siesta Key throughout March and April, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has found that of the 338 total charges issued, nearly 75 percent were alcohol-re- lated, the office reported on June 11. The increased patrol efforts "resulted in a much safer spring break for residents and visitors," a news release says. In effect, satu- rating the popular beaches and village areas over the eight-week period with a uniformed law enforcement presence "was a crime deter- rent overall," the release adds. The findings included the following: • 184, or 54 percent, of all charges were for underage possession of alcohol. • The next most prevalent charge was for narcotics. • The most serious charges were against local residents, not visitors. • Most charges were for incidents at the main beach itself, not in Siesta Village. • On Siesta Key, there was only one more crime reported by a member of the public during March and April 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, the release points out. However, the number of charges issued by Sheriff's Office personnel increased sig- nificantly (42 percent) as a result of the agency's patrolling effort. "More people in one place increases the potential for incidents to occur," said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. "By committing additional resources to one of the top des- tinations for citizens and visitors alike, we clearly establish that misconduct will not be tolerated." Just before 9:30 a.m. on a mid-March day, plenty of visitors already were making themselves at home on Siesta Public Beach. Photo by Rachel Hackney MOST SIESTA SPRING BREAK CHARGES RELATED TO ALCOHOL CRIME BLOTTER

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