Authorities encourage Lehigh Acres residents to help prevent crime

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LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- Authorities say home burglaries are on the rise in Lehigh Acres.

Now, crime prevention specialists are asking residents to keep their eyes open and be vigilant.

“I’ve had my housebroken into three times. I felt violated,” said resident Larry Gutridge.

Gutridge hasn’t only been the victim of a crime, he’s helped stop them as a crime prevention specialist for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

He says he’s seen an increase in home burglaries and he wants residents in this corner of the county to play a more active role in crime prevention.

“We just don’t have enough deputies to be everywhere all the time.”

Gutridge says when you’re headed home from work or walking the dog, keep an eye out for suspicious activity. If you see anything out of the ordinary, be sure to report it and snap a photo if it’s safe for you to do so.

“Then the whole community can be covered with eyes and ears.”

Some residents say they don’t feel safe when it comes to taking such an active role.

“It’s also a way of looking to invite trouble to your front door,” said one resident.

Meanwhile others think it’s the only way to stop the crime that some say, has taken over the community.

Far too often, deputies say neighbors see suspicious activity but don’t report it.

“Very frustrating to know that if a neighbor could have just called, the whole thing could have been prevented,” said Gutridge.

Officials also caution if you do see something suspicious, don’t get involved.

“If you see something going on across the street, do not confront them,” said Gutridge.

To report crime, you can always call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000 or Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous.


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