It's the kind of neighborhood where everyone knows one another and few residents worry about break-ins.
"Definitely felt very safe," said Katey Foster of Burlington. "For the first few years that we lived here we didn't really even use house keys ever. I didn't even know where they were."
But a recent rash of burglaries changed homeowner Katey Foster's mind. Police say there have been 25 break-ins in Burlington in the last two weeks. One hit too close to home for Foster.
"We found out that our next-door neighbors had been robbed and their car was stolen, and forced entry through the backyard, which was really unsettling," Foster said.
A wake-up call that even homes in the Hill Section of the city are vulnerable to crime.
With more to protect than ever before, this new mom says it was time for a security upgrade.
"Three days ago we had an alarm system put in which is a totally new reality for us. It's kind of unbelievable that's where we are," Foster said.
Burlington police say the thieves are after things like electronics, jewelry and cash.
"This isn't large-scale stuff. We're talking about small things that suspects can get in a house-- get in and out really quick," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee said.
A crime of opportunity fueled by drug addiction. Police say most of the time burglars barter with their dealers, trading the stolen items for drugs. No cash needed.
"Generally they want to unload it fast because they need a fix," Higbee said.
So where else do crooks go to unload the goods? Coin and jewelry shops. Stephen Edwards, the owner of Vermont Coin and Jewelry says he sees the thieves come in once a week.
"The ones that aren't so hardened might be squirming around in their seat a little bit," he said.
Edwards says the crooks are easy to spot. And if he can't catch them, one of his seven cameras will. They're trained on the item and the person trying to sell it. The store pays customers by check and every transaction requires an ID. A vigilant approach to keep his business from becoming a haven for hot items.
"If they sell it to me, and if it was stolen, then the authorities are going to be called and they're going to be brought to justice," Edwards said.
Whether it's about protecting precious metals or precious cargo, for some a security system just comes down to added peace of mind.
Police say if you see something suspicious in your neighborhood call police. They say it's also important to lock all doors and windows when you're not home, even in the summer months.
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:34 PM EST2013-12-09 02:34:59 GMT
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