Burglars find a new way to target houses

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. Will your house be the target of thieves this year? Data from the FBI 2012 Crime Report shows there were over 2 million burglaries in the United States, with nearly 75% occurring on residential properties. And there's a new tactic right here in the valley, burglars may be using to break into your home.

Many of us lock our doors, install alarm systems and take every step to make sure our homes are secure, but burglars are now finding different ways to target houses.

Angel Lobato was alarmed when she saw something out of the ordinary in her neighborhood.

“A black blazer that drove in the cul de sac, very slowly and I was watching him through the window and he was looking at the houses and he did that three times," said Lobato.

Lobato never saw the driver of the suspicious vehicle, but his actions were enough to make her wary.

“I made sure all the doors were locked and all the window were locked because some of them were left open," said Lobato.

Burglars are using a new tactic to rob homes. The way it works is, they drive around looking for houses to break into, then one of the suspects approaches the house and rings the doorbell or knocks, waits a second or two to see if a dog barks or anyone responds and then returns to their car.

A homeowners association in Mesa County alerted its residents about this tactic and Lobato is concerned the suspicious car in her cul de sac may come back.

“They'll knock at the door and if you don't answer, then they mark your house somehow and then come back and rob it," said Lobato.

As the Regional Manager for Citadel Security, it's Corey Hulse's job to protect people from these invasions and he's been busy. He says he's not surprised to see this type of burglary tactic used in the valley.

"We've kind of gotten complacent in this valley, everyone seems to think that this is just a sleepy hollow USA type of community and there's not a lot of crime going on, but there is," said Hulse.

And Hulse says people are uneasy about the forward tactic.

“The fact that people are being bold now and actually walking up to doors and knocking on the doors and saying ‘hey, I'm sorry I have the wrong house,’ just to see if somebody's home or knocking on the doors to see if dogs are barking or checking out the yard," said Hulse.

But there are steps you can take to protect you and your family.

“Things they can install on their doors, like little peep holes, those are pretty cheap at any of the local hardware stores, they can have a threat assessment done on their home," said Hulse.

Mesa County Sheriff's Office Officials recommend not answering your door for anyone you don't know.

Lobato says she's taking extra caution around her home and will report any suspicious activity in her neighborhood.

“I'm definitely watching who's walking outside, what cars are driving by and when I go to the mailbox now I'm definitely taking my phone just in case anything does happen," said Lobato.

In Mesa County, there have been recent reports of suspicious salesman, who knock on people's doors and try to sell them something. We also spoke with some people who say the ‘self-proclaimed salesmen’ have come to their door, they're very aggressive and don't carry personal identification. At this time, Fruita Police Department Officials say the suspicious salesman haven't been tied to any area burglaries, but has asked them to stop. Still, they recommend you call police if you see any suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

Read the original version of this article at www.nbc11news.com.

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