St. Pete neighborhood combats "creepy crawly" crooks

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 18:26:20-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-- The Riviera Bay neighborhood in St. Pete is fighting back against the thieves preying on their neighborhood. 

Neighbors are joining together to add cameras and spotlights to send a message to the “creepy crawly crooks” (as they nicknamed them) to stay away.

Tricia Schmitz’s blood boils when she thinks about how thieves reached into her unlocked car and snatched her wallet and cash.

“You feel violated! It’s tough when someone takes something from you like that,” she said.

Neighbors in Riviera Bay nicknamed the thieves “creepy crawlys” because they sneak in day and night and have taken everything from bicycles to kayaks.

One thing they won’t snag: their sense of security.
That’s why Pattie Reyes just added cameras on her palm trees, her backyard and doorstep.

“It’s a cheap way to get peace of mind,” she explained.

St. Pete Police tell ABC Action News theft is down across the city, but in the summer months, the numbers go up. 

Riviera Bay neighbors are now on a mission to get as many homeowners as they can to add cameras and spotlights. Community watch leader Don Gilbert has been working to convince neighbors to make the investment in order to keep their neighborhood safe. Several dozen neighbors have already installed cameras, which they hope will mean the “creepy crawly crooks” don’t stand a chance.

“They'll say 'Oh she’s got cameras, well maybe he doesn’t' and they’ll go down the block and say 'ok they have a camera, they have a camera. Let’s go away and pick another neighborhood,'" Reyes added.

You can also register your home surveillance cameras with the police department in your city. St Petersburg's Eagle Eye program now has 350 cameras registered, which they say has helped them make countless arrests.