Home burglaries are on the rise in the City of Holmes Beach, according to a new crime report.
The City of Holmes Beach is a beautiful beach community. However, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said it has changed over the years.
“We don’t have as many residents as we used to so we have an influx of tourists that come in, an influx of visitors and we see between 18,000 and 20,000 vehicles traveling onto our island every single day,” Tokajer said.
Tokajer said full time residents are turning into snow birds and the city is becoming more of a tourist destination and because of this crime is going up.
The department recently released their Uniform Crime Report which compiles year-end crime statistics for 2014. In 2014, home burglaries were up by over twice as many as in 2013.
“Last year we had 13 burglaries. This year we had 31 which is an increase of residential burglaries of 18,” Tokajer said.
Holmes Beach resident NJ Logan is part of that statistic. In August 2014, her Holmes Beach house was broken into while she was asleep upstairs. Luckily the 80 year old heard the burglars, grabbed her gun and scared them off.
“I kept saying I have a gun I have a gun because I didn’t want to shoot anybody," she said.
Logan was able to scare the burglars away. They didn’t even have a chance to rob her of any valuables. Due to Logan’s story and the stats from the crime report, Tokajer is taking a proactive approach.
The police department will be holding a neighborhood watch education event and he is encouraging all Holmes Beach residents as well as snow birds to take part in their house check program.
“We will check their house multiple times during the week during the day and at night,” said Tokajer.
Logan said even with her break-in and the increase in crime, Holmes Beach is still a safe place to live.
“This would be the safest place in Manatee County to live,” Logan said.
Thefts have also increased from 92 in 2013 to 107 in 2014. Aggravated assaults rose from three to six. On the upside there were no vehicle thefts or sexual battery cases reported.