Cops Combat Looting

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There are a lot of things to worry about if and when you decide to evacuate your home. Looters and thieves are usually at the top of most people's concerns.

Luckily, local law enforcement is taking a proactive approach to prevent you from being victimized while you’re gone.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office is doubling up patrol officers in those areas most vulnerable to Ivan's wrath. It's in these areas that sheriff's officials say looters and thieves will try to take advantage of your misfortune.

"Our mission is to ensure the protection of the property of people who have evacuated the area," says Lt. Rad Nelson.

Problems with looters after Hurricane Opal in 1995, gave sheriff's officials reason enough to take a proactive approach this time around.

"We did have problems with looters. People would go to houses they knew were vacant and steal from people that were evacuated. We put those people in jail," says Lt. Nelson.

Sheriff's deputies will be patrolling mandatory evacuation zones throughout the week. They will arrest anyone who continues to loiter in an area after they've been warned to leave.

It's been quiet so far in those mandatory evacuation zones. Lt. Nelson says there was a report of someone stealing plywood off of a construction site, but no real incidents of looting yet.