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Jupiter Police urging vigilance this holiday season amid dog park break ins

Posted at 5:37 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 18:01:41-05

The new Jupiter dog park just opened up less than a month ago, offering families 13 acres of land for small and big dogs to play.

And while people are enjoying the new space with their pups, people are also reporting car break ins that are putting a damper on the fun.

However, police say these are just isolated incidents and are reminding people to keep their belongings hidden to prevent crimes of opportunity.

Jennifer Wasalaski’s kids and three dogs keep her busy enough when she comes to Cinquez Dog Park multiple times a week.

“I have my hands full with all of them," she joked.

So worrying about her car is the last thing on her mind.

“A lot of people are more focused on their dogs so they’re not really paying attention to their cars. They're expecting it to be safe and be in a city that we're safe in where this doesn't happen," she said. "So if you’re preoccupied with your child or your fur baby, then you’re not paying attention to that."

The parking area that she uses at the park has become a crime of opportunity for criminals. The park closes at dusk so these crimes are happening during the day.

“A lot of people park next to the gate just so they can watch their cars," said Wasalaski.

Jupiter Police said they worked two reported break ins so far this month, one on November 4 and the other on November 16. That woman -- who had visited for the first time on Friday -- got stuck with a busted window.

She posted the damage on Facebook on the Jupiter Locals community page, generating buzz and concern.

“What amazes me is these people who have enough courage to do this during the daylight. With big dogs? Ya' know, get 'em!!" joked Eileen Donehue, who said she's had a couple of friends get their purses stolen from their cars.

However, police reiterated these appear to be isolated incidents.

“Unfortunately, valuables were left in vehicles, in plain sight for people to see," said Officer O'Neil Anderson, who works with Jupiter PD's neighborhood enhancement team.

Officer Anderson said it’s that time of the year for criminals to get desperate this holiday season.

“We have a lot of visitors, so just a lot more traffic and sometimes we tend to get a little more complacent than normal," he said.

He suggests keeping your important belongings out of sight by hiding them, putting them in the trunk, or taking them with you. Keep an eye out for any suspicious persons and know that police are just a phone call away if anything seems out of the ordinary.

Click here for more crime prevention tips.

Police do have ongoing patrols every day in the area around the park because it’s a busy part of town.

“With Indiantown being one of our busy roads. We always have police officers doing directive patrol," he said.

Next time you come back Cinquez Park or anywhere this holiday season, police are reminding you to stay alert.

“Take the extra step -- lock your doors. Remove items out of plain sight. And be just a little more extra vigilant," said Officer Anderson.