SUFFOLK-- A black bear has been getting a little too close for comfort in Suffolk's Hollywood neighborhood.

Police say the bear was foraging for food left in a car in the 300 block of Goodman Street early Thursday morning, causing damage to the vehicle's hood and grill.

Officials warn that bears are attracted to residential areas by the smell of food around homes, but say they are shy animals and usually try to avoid people.

Officials say, 'If a bear is on or near your property, do not escalate the situation by approaching, crowding around, or chasing the bear. This also applies to bears that have climbed up a tree. The best thing you can do is leave it alone.'

Officials are dropping off the following safety information to the neighborhood today:

  • Secure your garbage: Store garbage indoors, in a shed, in a garage, or in a bear-proof container.
  • Put garbage out the morning of pick-up, not the night before.
  • Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove the food bowl soon after pets finish. Pick up uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
  • Remove the bird feeder: Bears consume seed and nuts found in the wild, so bird feeders become a favored target for bears.
  • Clean the outdoor grill often.
  • Do not put meat scraps or any other strong-smelling food in the compost pile. Consider an enclosed compost bin.
  • Do not leave strong-smelling food in your vehicles.
  • Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.
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