For the past ten years, during the holiday season, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office has conducted “Operation Safe Shopper”. Operation Safe Shopper increases law enforcement presence in shopping areas, banks, and recreational facilities and begins two weeks before Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas.  During the designated period, Sumter County deputies will spend extra time patrolling parking lots in these areas looking for suspicious activity in an effort to prevent vehicle burglaries, thefts, and robberies. Our goal is to ensure the safety of our citizens, while they enjoy the holiday season with their families.

Citizens will notice an increased presence of law enforcement and are encouraged to reach out to the deputies and express any suspicious activity or concerns they may have. Our deputies will be on the lookout for you, but here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim this holiday season. For those living in The Villages, the same precautions apply to golf carts.

  • Park in a well-lit area of the parking lot.
  • Do not leave valuables in plain view in your vehicle.
  • Always lock your doors, whether or not you are driving.
  • If you have to take a phone call or text message –don’t let your guard down and get distracted while shopping.
  • Do not carry large amounts of merchandise at one time.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, contact the Sheriff’s department or the store’s security officer.

As always, if you see something, say something and contact the sheriff’s office at (352)793-2621 or use 911 in the event of an emergency.

Sheriff Bill Farmer