Police warn of gated community break-ins

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VENICE, Fla. - Police are warning residents who live in gated communities to be on the lookout for criminals.

"It's a beautiful time of year but it's also a time of year when criminals are going to take advantage of opportunities," said Venice Police Chief Tom McNulty. "We believe that they're parking in areas outside the gated community in order to gain access."

Authorities say just because a gate is present, don't think that's enough to stop a determined criminal. Experts say crooks also sneak in from golf courses, many of which border roads with no kind of protection.

"What does a gated community keep out? If somebody wants to get in they're gonna get in," said homeowner George Soderberg, who always takes precautions even though he and his wife live in a gated community. "We lock all the doors and windows, obviously, we generally shut the blinds," said Soderberg.

Police say crafty criminals may also strike when they think no ones home. "They know that people go out around five or six o'clock to go to dinner, most times they don't turn their alarms on, they target master bedrooms where they know jewelry is kept," said McNulty.

While its easy to be a victim, police say it's even easier to stay safe. when you leave, lock your doors and windows. Always use an alarm, even if you'll only be gone shortly. And if you see something that just doesn't seem right, don't hesitate to call the cops.