During the Nov. 5 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting, Sgt. Arik Smith, leader of the Sheriff’s Office substation on the island, provided an overview of crime statistics for October.
Altogether, he said, officers handled 362 calls for service. And while the number of more serious crimes — those classified by the FBI as Part I incidents — generally make up only about 4% of the total, he continued, the October figure was 6%.
Among the incidents, Smith said, were an auto theft, a residential burglary, a couple of bicycle thefts and a vehicle burglary.
The auto theft, Smith pointed out, involved a golf cart.
In the case of the residential burglary, he noted, a house was being remodeled and the doors had been left unlocked. (The official report says fixtures and a television were reported stolen.)
The October overview the Sheriff’s Office provided to the SNL also noted that, among the other Part I cases, three political signs were stolen, beer was taken from an outdoor bar area on two occasions (with an arrest made), a boat was burglarized at a marina, a backpack was stolen from the beach, a phone was stolen after it fell off the roof of a car, and a vendor reported that camping equipment was stolen while an event was underway.
Smith also took the opportunity of his appearance at the SKA meeting to emphasize, “We are 100% not allowing dogs on the beach,” unless the dog is a service animal. The Sheriff’s Office does not consider emotional support dogs to be service animals, he stressed.
“If you guys see dogs at the beach,” Smith told the SKA members, they should call the Sheriff’s Office. “We’ll educate [the owners] on what the rules are.”
County residents do try to sneak dogs onto the beach, Smith noted, even though “they know the rules.”
The county has banned dogs from the public beach for many years, as the animals can disturb beach-nesting birds, which then will abandon nests, even with eggs close to hatching.
Smith also has pointed out to the SNL that dogs can bite, and some people simply are fearful of the animals.
“We do our best,” he said during the SKA meeting, to ensure dogs are not on the beach. “We try to stay very vigilant.”