Crime Prevention Tips

5 things – burglars don’t want you to know!

Troy Evans, a former burglar and author of From Desperation to Dedication: An ex con’s lessons on turning failure into success, reveals how thieves operate – offering peace of mind strategies to safeguard your home.

• They are terrified of dogs. Even if you don’t own a dog (or yours is in kennel), Evans advises it’s smart to strategically scatter a few chew toys around your yard. “Dogs are a big problem for thieves because they can be aggressive and are capable of creating a big racket. One time when scoping out a house he spotted a dog food bowl nearby. The house completely lost its appeal right then and there”.
• They are not fooled by light timers. Evans happened to be walking past a house one evening when he noticed that the lights switched on simultaneously in three rooms – that never happens when people are actually home. He returned the next day to investigate, and sure enough, the entire house lit up again at the exact same time. Clearly the owners were not around, and what should have been a deterrent actually lured the burglar right to their doorstep. Set light timers so they switch on and off on a staggered schedule when your area away.
• They monitor the mail. Holiday trips may seem too short to justify suspending mail delivery, Evans suggests asking a neighbor to collect it everyday along with the newspaper. One of his best strategies determining which homeowners were out of town was to see whose mail was piling up. He would hand-deliver flyers for a phony service – if anyone asked why he was walking through the neighborhood peeking in mailboxes, he had a good cover story. Each time he would come across a box that was stuffed, he would make a mental note: Good house to revisit tonight!
• They love tall shrubbery. When Evans came across a house that had two large front windows that were partially obscured by towering bushes, for thieves, that was like hitting the jackpot. The owners had unwittingly created the perfect camouflage allowing burglars to do their dirty work. They are able to scoot behind the shrubs and gain access through the window – all while remaining invisible to neighbors.
• They gravitate to side doors. Most people have at least two locks on the front door, but for some reason they overlook the side entrances. Gaining access through flimsy secondary doors is easy – he usually could shoulder his way in or kick them down in less than 30 seconds. If it had taken longer, he would have given up, and a dead bolt would have slowed him down considerably.

Crime Maps

Crime Map

The Tampa Police Department has teamed up with RAIDS Online to provide easy to read crime maps and analysis. RAIDS Online displays crime data to the public using Google Maps well-known mapping interface. Crime type, street address, date and time are displayed for the public.

Tampa Police Contact Numbers

Tampa Police Phone Numbers

Emergency 911

24 Hour Non-Emergency Police Dispatch (813) 231-6130

Please Call if You Have Information to Report
24 Hour Service Non-emergency for District 3 (Palmetto Beach)
(813) 242-3800

Criminal Intelligence Bureau (813) 276-3651
Evidence Control (813) 276-3279
Extra Duty Office (813) 276-3385
False Alarms (813) 276-3296
Fiscal Bureau (813) 276-3437
Fleet Services (813) 276-3387
Forfeitures Unit / Seized Property or Vehicle (813) 276-3766
*Gang Unit (813) 276-3523*
Hit & Run (813) 276-3564
Information/Switchboard (813) 276-3200
Internal Affairs Bureau (813) 274-5849
Legal Bureau (813) 276-3769
*Narcotics Bureau (813) 276-3606*
Personnel (813) 276-3429
Public Information Office (813) 276-3253
Records (813) 276-3250
Robbery / Homicide / Assaults (813) 276-3564
Special Support Division (813) 276-3471
Training (813) 276-3400
Technology Unit (813) 276-3754

Environmental Concerns

Report a Complaint

Submit an Environmental Complaint

Anyone who has an environmental concern about a circumstance in Hillsborough County can ask the Environmental Protection Commission to investigate. Anyone with a complaint should call the appropriate division or if you’re not sure which division to contact, please call (813) 627-2600 and ask the operator.


Port of Tampa Test Sirens

Port of Tampa Test Sirens

Tests of the emergency warning system are conducted by Hillsborough County on Fridays at noon.  Sirens are located throughout the Port of Tampa, including one atop City of Tampa Fire Station No. 6, where the HAZMAT unit is located, in Palmetto Beach.  In the case of an actual emergency, the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center Warning Point operators will assess the situation and activate the warning and notification systems, such as the siren system, Emergency Alert System, NOAA Weather Radio, and door-to-door notification. Fire rescue units will be deployed to the scene.  The Coast Guard will coordinate assistance to vessels while the Port Authority coordinates assistance in the dock areas.  Other agencies, such as the Red Cross may be requested to open a shelter and provide services.

If you hear a siren alert or public address announcement being made, turn on the TV or radio to get additional information.  It is a good practice to check the weather when you arise and to periodically listen or watch a newscast, especially since we now have 24 hr. a day news coverage.  Try to make a determination if the incident is or may affect your area.  Follow instructions from authorities.  If the incident involves a hazardous substance, it is very important that you remain inside your home or workplace.  DO NOT GO TO THE SCENE OF THE DISASTER as an on-looker as you may contribute to the problem, especially if you accidentally come in contact with the substance.

Sign Up for Alerts


The City of Tampa wants to make sure you’re in the know when you’re on the go!  Sign Up Now Online to join ALERT Tampa. Receive vital updates when a hazardous conditions are threatening our city, and to learn about crime trends in our neighborhood. These time-critical notifications will be sent directly to your home phone, cell phone or email address, wherever you register.  For more information on how to prepare for a natural disaster or learn about available emergency resources visit the City of Tampa’s Office of Emergency Management.

Weather & Hurricanes

Find My Evacuation Zone

Find Your Evacuation Zone

In order to know when to evacuate for hurricane surge flooding, you must KNOW YOUR ZONE! Palmetto Beach is primarily Zone A, the first zone to evacuate.

When it comes to evacuating, there are many decisions to make. One of those decisions is whether to stay in Hillsborough County, or drive hundreds of miles to an out-of-town location.  Finding high ground in Hillsborough County is possible. Even for a Category 5 storm, a structure in these areas that is hardened to withstand high winds can provide safe shelter.

Evacuating to a shelter within the county has its advantages. You can avoid traffic jams and the uncertainty that comes with driving the crowded highways as other counties evacuate. You can avoid going elsewhere in the state only to find that the storm has shifted and you are now in harm’s way. And you will avoid the crowds when it comes time to head home.

If staying in Hillsborough County seems like a good decision, plan ahead to find safe shelter by asking friends, relatives or coworkers if they are willing to host you and your family during a storm or find a hotel or motel in the area in a non-evacuation zone.

If you ever have to evacuate to a shelter, be sure to bring pillows, blankets and sleeping bags. It also is a good idea to pack a few days worth of changes of clothes and personal hygiene items, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant. For entertainment, be sure to bring books, playing cards or hand-held game systems/ cell phones. Even board games that have been collecting dust in the closet can provide first-class entertainment, as well as a good distraction when sitting in a school gymnasium or auditorium during a hurricane.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

Make A Storm Kit

First and foremost, bottled drinking water is absolutely the most important thing to have when gathering hurricane supplies. The Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management (HCOEM) recommends keeping a week’s worth of water — one gallon per person, per day — on hand. A dedicated disaster kit is a great way to always be prepared for a storm. Most necessary supplies can be found at local supermarkets. Canned and dry foods are a must. Perishable foods will go bad quickly if the power goes out and they do not remain cold. Bags of chips, nuts, crackers, cereals or anything dry that will not go bad are all good ideas. If stocking up on any canned foods, don’t forget to add a manual can opener to your kit.

It also is important to have at least a two-week supply of prescription medications and a First-Aid kit on hand. Flashlights and batteries will come in handy if the power goes out, especially for a battery-powered storm radio that will keep you informed of any updates before, during and after the storm. Coolers also can be a treasured commodity, especially for bags of ice, another one of the most demanded items following a storm. Being prepared before a shortage can put you ahead of the game.

It’s also a good idea to have a large bucket with a tight-sealing lid, along with some kitty litter, to serve as a makeshift toilet; it is not uncommon for plumbing to be out of service during a severe storm.  Other items to have on hand during a major storm include plenty of cash (banks and ATMs will not be in service if the power is out), and, if you can afford it, a gas generator (to be used outdoors only) can turn the lights on for as long as the gas supply lasts. It’s also good to have a few extra gas cans filled if a storm is approaching, not only for your generator, but also for your vehicle in case nearby gas stations run out of gas.

For more information about being prepared for a hurricane, you can call the City of Tampa (813-282-7827) and Hillsborough County Emergency Management(813-236-3800) departments, or visit the websites listed below.

More Emergency Preparedness Resources