Published: Jun 21, 2013 12:08 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Law enforcement agencies throughout Florida are noticing a trend in the theft of hurricane shutters. Prior to leaving for the summer, many seasonal residents install their shutters as a way to protect their property during hurricane season. Criminals, however, are using this as an opportunity to steal the shutters and take them to scrap yards, where they then trade in the metal for some extra pocket change.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office offers these tips on how to protect your shutters from theft:

-Engrave a unique identifiable marking (ex: the property’s address) onto each shutter. This marking can assist law enforcement recover stolen shutters.
-Ask a trusted neighbor, friend or family member to make routine checks on your property while you are out of town.
-Report any suspicious activity to the Collier County Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at (239) 252-9300, or dial 911 if you believe you may be witnessing a crime in progress.