OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs police said an open garage door is like an open invitation to thieves. In just the last two weeks, officers said they've received more than 20 calls about burglaries where burglars entered the garages and made off with loot.
Nicole Battle said she often leaves her garage door open out of habit.
"I've lived here a long time and you know the neighborhood was very safe,"said Battle. "I think I've adjusted to the new time where it's not so safe to leave your garage door open."
Ocean Springs police are urging people keep garage doors closed when they're not outside. Officers said a thief sees a chance to take advantage of homeowners' trusting nature.
Lt. John Flowers said, "What we hear often is, 'I've lived here for many years and never have been a victim of any type of crime. We live in a peaceful neighborhood.'"
"But it's always a first time for everything. It's where the person lets their guard down and they get a little too trusting of strangers," said Flowers.
Police said some residents think if they are home during the day, thieves won't dare commit a crime for fear of being seen. However, in the recent crime wave, police said most burglaries took place in broad daylight.
"When you have a garage door that's open, it's an invitation to a thief to come into the garage and remove whatever you have," said Lt. Flowers. "It wouldn't take but 60 seconds. They can pull up, unload whatever may be in your garage and drive away with it that quick."
Ocean Springs officers said leaving your garage door open may also leave the rest of your home vulnerable.
"We have seen where a lot of people tend to leave the side door open and that's an entry point to the house itself," said Lt. Flowers. "When a burglar goes to that house, or a thief, they go into the garage. They start taking what they want from the garage. And if the door is unlocked, it's easy access into the house itself."
Ocean Springs police said they are patrolling neighborhoods and alerting residents to anything they might be doing to make themselves vulnerable to thieves. Officers said residents report all suspicious activity to the police.