“I think it’s just a sign of the times,” said Belvidere resident Charmayne Johnston.
Johnston has lived in her neighborhood for the last 25 years.
But she says, as safe as it is, she always locks her doors, keeps an outside light on, and never leaves her garage door open.
“I think we all need to be cautious, and having been married to a police officer for 54 years, we take precautions.”
Her neighborhood is quiet now, but last Wednesday it was the scene of several burglaries.
A neighbor tipped off Belvidere Police about a car robbery that lead to a police pursuit.
Five juveniles were arrested.
Belvidere Police Deputy Chief Shane Woody says many times, these are crimes of opportunity.
“They don’t think that something like this is going to occur in their neighborhood,” said Deputy Chief Woody. “But what’s important for everybody to understand is that it can happen anywhere.”
He says they’ve had about 60-70 vehicle burglaries this year, and 6-10 stolen vehicles.
“All with very similar patterns that we would associate to either this group, or a group just like it out of the Chicago area,” said Woody.
Deputy Chief Woody says catching the criminals is all thanks to a team effort between several northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin agencies.
But, the community plays an important role too.
“These criminals go around, they look for vehicles that are unlocked, they look for valuables inside the vehicle,” said the Deputy Chief. “If you take those two things out of the equation, you’re less likely to become a victim.”
Authorities say they still have not located all of the vehicles and other items reported stolen.
The juveniles could be facing additional charges.