NORFOLK, Va. - Since January, there have been nearly 300 burglaries in Norfolk, causing homeowners to feel less secure in their own homes.
"You hear the word violated every time that you go and see somebody who has been broken into," said Aaron Stacy, Security Consultant with Johns Brother Security.
All it takes is an instant for everything you love to end up in the hands of a criminal. But typically the vulnerable spots in your home aren't pointed out until after a criminal breaks in. Taking more than just your belongings, but your sense of security as well.
"There's nothing more disheartening than getting a phone call that someone's home just got broken into," said Stacy. "While we are able to assist that person and provide peace of mind it's still disheartening and that person is still violated."
While its easy to lock your doors and windows, Stacy says some criminals are brave enough to break glass into order to get into your home. Once inside, most have the same plan of action.
"Anything that they can easily escape with without being seen whether that is electronics, jewelry, cash, that`s usually why they go to the master bedroom first," explained Stacy.
But there are ways homeowners can make their home less of a target. Simple installations like lights can deter burglars, as well as security signs, even if you don't have a system. Lawn maintenance is also a key way to prevent burglaries.
"When your mail stacks up or newspapers or even if your front lawn isn't mowed that is a trigger for criminals and shows that someone hasn't been there for an extended period of time."
Some neighbors in Norfolk are taking their preparedness a step further by forming Neighborhood Watch Groups.
"Crime is in every neighborhood but we want to go ahead and come together and try to reduce it," explained Dawn West, administrator for the Bayview Neighborhood Watch Group in Norfolk.
The group was formed last summer following a string of break ins in the community.
"I grew up here I was a paper route carrier and to see the way things have been restructured, it is heart breaking to see this."
Using the internet the group informs each other of suspicious activity in their community.
"We are online instantly and we sharing locations, description, and it is amazing to see the progress of snuffing out whatever it may be within hours," said West.
And their actions are already getting results.
"It's brought back a sense of security," said West. "It's like a village."
If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch group in your community, contact your local police station.