NEW TAMPA, Fla. - When Michelle Guerrero and her husband moved their family to New Tampa from Miami three years ago, they were hoping to find a safer, crime-free neighborhood. They quickly learned that thieves don't care about geography.
"Someone broke into my car," Guerrero said. The crooks made off with money, checkbooks, and other valuables. It would be months before they decided to park their cars outside the garage again. But now they have a new concern: burglaries.
"It makes me really nervous because we purposefully decided to move to a good area of town," Guerrero said. "It just really makes you want to secure everything you have."
Tampa Police have reported a wave of burglaries in New Tampa and Tampa Palms, and all the cases had similar circumstances. The criminals are breaking in sliding glass doors or windows in the back of homes, usually those facing woods or a preserve.
"It is camouflage for criminal activity," said Demetrius Watson, a New Tampa resident who lives near a three-acre preserve. "To have somebody break in and steal your possessions, it's extremely frustrating," Watson said.
Watson installed a metal bar across the back of his sliding glass door, but he wants better locks for improved security. He's seen several neighbors' homes targeted by burglars.
"We're more aware after these things happen," Watson said.
The Guerreros said their next step will be to better secure the most vulnerable part of the house, the sliding glass door.
"Now that this has come to light, I definitely would want to get some extra bars to put on it," Guerrero said. "You just never know."
Anyone with information about the burglaries or if you see something suspicious you're asked to call Tampa Police at 813-231-6130.