October 14, 2012
Crime beat and safety
by Tamas Mondovics
Operation Medicine Cabinet Coming To Hawthorne Village Of Brandon
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), in partnership with the Home Instead Senior Care of Sun City, will be providing area residents a way of properly disposing of outdated prescription medicines and drugs this month.
Operation Medicine Cabinet, a program that takes place several times a year in the Brandon and Southshore areas, is mainly a collection effort that reminds residents of a number of safety issues.
Scheduled for Friday, October 19 from 9-12 at the Hawthorne Village of Brandon Assisted Living Facility located at 859 W. Lumsden Ave., the event will be held under the direction of HCSO District 4 Master Deputy Curtis Warren.
“Our goal and mission is to protect our residents, our families and our environment,” Warren said. He also emphasized the first rule of thumb when it comes to either surplus, outdated or expired medication and drugs: “Do not flush medication down the drain or the toilet or put them in the trash. The best thing to do is to collect them and drop them off so they can be properly disposed of.”
Warren emphasized that flushing pills down the toilet or drain directly deposits these unused substances into our water system.
Since its inception in 2006, Operation Medicine Cabinet has collected more than 5,000 pounds of prescription drugs and medications and is growing.
As part of its ongoing effort to crack down on illegal pill mills and prevent prescription drug abuse, HCSO along with the Temple Terrace Police Department, the Tampa Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance, took part in the Operation Medicine Cabinet Prescription Drug Take-Back Day last month as well.
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Home Solicitiations Take Center Stage In Consumer Awareness Effort
To increase awareness and help consumers avoid scams and prevent crime, Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency turned its attention to the topic of home solicitation last month.
“Given the time of year, the topic, of course, is by no means out of place,” said, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) spokesperson Larry McKinnon.
Besides the usual knock on the door in order to sell, lease or rent of a consumer good or service, local supporters of political candidates for the upcoming election may also stop by for a brief chat.
The agency emphasized that home solicitations in Hillsborough County account for a large number of consumer complaints each year. It begs the need to understand what home soliciting actually mean.
The official explanation by the agency reads that a home solicitation is any sale, lease or rental of a consumer good or service with a purchase price that exceeds $25, including all interest, service charges, finance charges, postage, freight, insurance, and handling charges, and the sale is consummated in a place other than at the seller’s fixed establishment or business location.
“If a home solicitor knocks on the door and cannot show a county-issued permit, ask them to leave or call your local law enforcement agency,” said Kevin Jackson, of the County Consumer Protection Agency as the first line of defense against crime or scams.
In Hillsborough County, consumers can call the clerk’s recording office to get information about all the specific details on how to handle a home solicitor.
Bloomingdale Community Resource Deputy Curtis Warren commented that to avoid problems or misunderstandings there are several steps that can be taken. This includes the posting of a “no solicitation” sign on the door or the simple answer “I am not interested’, as well as letting a visitor know that someone is home.
McKinnon also cautioned as he mentioned that residents should remember that not everyone who comes to their door is trying to sell something, and that a “No Soliciting” sign no matter how visible it is may not apply to all, such as those with political or religious purposes.
“In these cases a simple ‘I am not interested’ is usually enough,” McKinnon said.
McKinnon said that sadly some homeowners take matters into their own hands or become angry or even violent with someone that knocked on their door.
“In these cases the homeowner ends up breaking the law, not the person that knocked on the door,” he said. “In any case if you are not sure or if there is some suspicion of a crime, the best thing to do is to call law enforcement.”
For more information about home solicitation, please call the Clerk’s recording office at 813-276-8100 Ext. 4157.