Crime in Your Neighborhood: Open garage doors are invitations for thieves

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. You wouldn't leave your front door open all day, hoping that burglars wouldn't come in. But, police say, that's essentially what people all around the Ozarks are doing.
The weather is getting warmer and more people are getting outside, that includes thieves. And, Greene County Deputy Cathy Ussery says, they are just looking for your open garage door, "That seems to be the moment of opportunity that these criminals are seeking."
Just last month, we told you about a couple who stole from at least six open garages in Nixa and Christian County. But, criminals aren't just stealing lawnmowers or tools from garages. Ussery says her Office is seeing more and more burglars getting into homes, and stealing all sorts of valuables, simply because people are leaving their garage doors open, "We're a very trusting community, and that's sometimes a vulnerability."
Ussery says people often crack their garage doors for their pets, or leave their garages completely open when they're working in their backyards. And, some of those people have come inside to find criminals in the middle of robbing them.
Ussery says, "A few months ago, we had a lady on the East side of town, she was working in her backyard, saw someone walking through her home, and confronted him. He had come in through her open garage door. He later fled the home and broke into another residence that also had the garage door slightly open."
But, as you might expect, you can protect yourself with a very simple solution. "Just close it," says Ussery. "We don't want people to feel like they're prisoners in their own home, but once again, we don't want criminals to take advantage of those moments of distraction."
Deputies say they're also seeing more theft from outbuildings. They recommend you check your sheds and detached buildings often, just to make sure everything is still there.