ORLANDO, Fla. - Violent crime and home break-ins typically skyrocket during the summer months, but some Orange County residents are fighting back against thieves who've been targeting their neighborhood.
In the past month, we found ten homes broken into in an area near Universal Orlando north of Dr. Phillips and east of Windermere.
Earlier this year in that same area, burglars had little trouble knocking on doors, breaking in and getting away with a carload of goods. Now, it's a different story.
When an unfamiliar man was spotted knocking on a home there, neighbor Marion Parham confronted him.
"I said 'she's obviously not home' and he said 'we'll I just started knocking' and I said 'no, you were knocking when I rounded the corner,' said Parham.
Parham, who's often home during the day and keeps an eye on the neighborhood, stood in his driveway watching the man's every move until he got into a waiting vehicle and drove off.
"It looked like he was making sure nobody was home," said Parham.
That home was protected for the time being, but days later some determined crooks smashed the front door stealing an iPad and jewelry.
People we spoke with in the area say more and more residents are arming themselves with security systems like gates, cameras, home alarms even dogs.
The Perkins home was hit twice. The first time, thieves broke in without setting off their alarm and stole jewelry. Crooks returned days later for more goods, but this time they tripped the motion detector and took off.
The Perkins have now installed even more detectors as well as cameras.
"The first week, we barely wanted to stay in the house," said Oskary Perkins. "And we feel safer with our cameras now."
It's one more step people are taking to protect their property.
"I don't like it happening in my neighborhood, so I'm very vigilant, I'm looking," said Parham.
In another case, a package had been left at the front door of a home. The package was stolen, but when the thief smashed a back door to break-in the home, the security alarm went off, apparently scaring off the crook. The homeowner came home to find everything intact, except that package outside was missing and his back door was smashed.
Break-ins tend to rise during the summer months so Orlando police just launched a summer crime initiative. They are boosting police presence in all Orlando neighborhoods to combat violent crime and break-ins.
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