Residents on edge after multiple Durham break-ins

DURHAM (WTVD) -- A string of burglaries and break-ins over the past month in Durham have residents on edge and locking their doors.

Police say since the start of September, eight vehicles have been broken into on Woodcroft Parkway in southern Durham. In most of the cases, the cars were left open.

Homes have also been broken into. Police haven't confirmed a number, but a posting on one community list-serve suggested "dozens" of homes had been burglarized.

"We were like, 'Oh, my god,'" said a homeowner named Natalie. "I saw it."

Natalie says in early September, she noticed a strange car in her neighbor's driveway. She called her neighbor, who knew nothing about it, then called police and waited.

The house was being robbed.

"I looked and saw two gentlemen with TVs and stuff. I got back onto the phone with police, saying 'They're leaving, they're leaving, please come. They're leaving with stuff.'"

"You know," she said, "I really thought the police would get there in time."

Natalie says it took police some 20 minutes to get there. They arrived moments after the thieves took off.

It all happened around 10:30 in the morning with neighbors on both sides of the house that was robbed, home at the time.

"You really have to work together as neighbors," Natalie reflected. "It takes a village."

Police say there are a couple simple things you might consider if you ever find yourself in a similar spot.

First, words matter. Instead of saying "I see a suspicious car," try something like "I think there's a possible burglary in progress."

Second, if you're home alone and hear a knock at the door you're not expecting, instead of answering it right away, try pretending you're not alone. Say something like, "Hey Bob, can you get the door?"

Police say thieves are less likely to break in to homes with groups of people inside.

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