HOUSTON - It's a neighborhood crime alert: A rash of criminal acts caught on surveillance video in the Rice Military area.
Many families said they are losing sleep over the crimes, because the thieves are striking at night.
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After Christopher George moved into the neighborhood in the 5000 block of Lillian Street last year, he was confronted with something he’d never encountered before on May 23, 2016.
A prowler tried to open his door, then began going through his mail.
Fearful with his wife upstairs, he held the man at gunpoint until police arrived to arrest him.
After that happened, he decided to beef up his security video system.
Over the last six months, the cameras have recorded a parade of questionable late-night visitors, mostly intent on burglarizing cars.
The camera recorded suspects regularly checking to see if doors were locked.
The burglars cleaned them out when they weren’t.
One man was seen on-camera using the reflected light to evaluate a pistol he’d just stolen out of a truck.
“I’d say it happens twice a week, if not more. It happens so consistent it’s just ridiculous,” George said.
George said it prevents him and other residents from feeling safe in their own homes. They want more police patrols.
"We’d like to get more coverage in the area to hopefully thwart some of that activity between certain hours, it’s not that hard to figure out,” George said.
Police said vehicle burglaries are a growing problem everywhere in the city.
"We have anywhere between 100 and a 120 cars broken into every single day in Houston. That’s every single day," Sgt. Tracy Hicks said.
Between Jan. 1 and July 31, 21,411 vehicle burglaries were reported in the city.
That number is up 10 percent over the same period last year.
Hicks, with the Houston Police Department, blames that on internet marketing sites that provide a ready market for stolen goods.
He also said vehicle break-ins are easily preventable by taking valuables out.
“One of the biggest things people could do to help us is simply locking your door. Half the car break-ins are people didn’t lock their door," Hicks said.
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