Corey Dobridnia, Public Information Officer at Walton County Sheriff’s Office, lists down five essential points to keep in mind if you’re coming to the beach for Spring Break.
It’s coming. Spring break is upon us and the beckoning of beaches along 30-A is calling to residents and visitors alike. Walton County Sheriff’s Office is prepared –as much as we can be—for the influx of Instagram-inspired travelers.
But, before digging your toes in the sand and your straw (paper, hopefully) in a cold drink, there are just a few things your friendly local law enforcement agency wants you to know!
Lock your doors.
Say it louder for the people in the back! The car, the rental unit, the pick-up truck, the jeep, the condo, the beach house – you with us? They should all be locked. We can’t say it enough. Yes, you’re in paradise. Yes, you’re excited and there are things to do and people to see. But, the biggest way to help prevent crime in our communities is by reducing the opportunity for criminals to turn you from visitor to victim.
More than 99% of vehicle burglaries in our county are the result of unlocked cars. What we’ve found is that criminals in our neck of the woods (or on our stretch of beach) get better return on investment by checking door handles than they do smashing windows. Let’s make their stock plummet.
Do us a favor. Join us. Take the oath. Repeat after me, I do solemnly swear to hide my belongings, lock my car, and take my keys with me wherever I go. Great! On to the next!
Don’t drink under 21.
Hey, you. The one with the red solo cup. We love your taste in spring break destinations, but not so much your taste for alcohol when you’re not of age. WCSO is not here to ruin the fun. Deputies just want to make sure everyone is making good decisions and staying out of trouble. If we can reduce the number of DUI’s and other alcohol-related incidents, we can keep our beaches the way they should be – safe, memorable and blowing up your Facebook feed.
We have a zero-tolerance policy for drinking under the age. So, we say all that to say, before you pour, are you sure? Twenty-one or older only, please. No fake ID’s need apply. The Walton County Jail is quite the hike from the Gulf and we don’t issue get out of jail free cards when you cross the state line.
The beach isn’t going anywhere.
Pardon the dust, we’re improving our infrastructure. You’ll notice in some areas of the county that our friends at Florida Department of Transportation are trying to improve our roadways and make them safer for drivers. We want to encourage those making the drive that the beach is staying put. So, there’s no need to rush.
Take some time and visit their site for major projects going on in the area. You may find there are some spots you want to avoid during peak hours. Traffic patterns may change and we don’t want you to get lost in the sauce.
Take a deep breath. Never mind the car behind you so close to your bumper they can smell what you ate for lunch. Wear your seatbelts, obey the speed limit, don’t text and drive, slower traffic stay right, and keep it between the mayo and the mustard and we’ll be happy as can be.
Treat our home like your home.
We love our home. We’re blessed to live and work in a place where people dream of visiting. All of us at WCSO also want it to stay beautiful, clean, and serene. We know, enough with the rhyming. But, it’s truly one of our biggest “asks” of this article. If you wouldn’t do it at home, please don’t do it here.
There are no magic elves who mysteriously appear and clean up trash on the beach and then disappear into the night while you’re sleeping. So, if you wouldn’t leave trash in your yard (or even if you would) please don’t do it on our white sandy beaches. Keep glass off the beach and your dogs on a leash (there’s that rhyming again) and make sure you have a permit for any bonfires.
A word on Customary Use.
We’ll make this short and sweet. No one has ever been arrested for trespassing on the beach by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office in the history of Walton County. Regardless of your stance on the subject, we believe in letting the courts decide. Until this issue is addressed through the proper means, our stance is to resolve issues and (as best we can) mediate in the meantime. If you’re coming on vacation – rest assured – the beach is yours to enjoy. We hope you do.
If you see us around, as we’re sure you will, stop and say hello!