St. Petersburg, Florida -- Beautiful, quiet Old Northeast in St. Petersburg is becoming a thieves' "treasure island". Neighbors are too trusting and police have the surveillance to prove it.
"They don't break in," explained Jewell Christie who's lived in Old Northeast for five years with her partner and two teenagers. "It's when we have failed to lock the cars and then they rummage and take what's in there."
Christie admits she has forgotten to lock her doors before and her vehicles have been burglarized four times.
"It's a problem, so we have gotten really good about making sure the doors are locked," said Christie.
"They will go door-to-door looking for something valuable inside the car," said St. Pete Police Public Information Officer Mike Puetz.
In the last three weeks, there have been 18 reported car break-ins. In the last two years, citywide, auto burglaries have gone up 40 percent, 74 percent of which are from people not locking their car doors.
"They leave their car doors open and one kid tells the next kid, 'go on 16th Avenue and Locust you can get anything you want,'" explains Joan Raskin, another frustrated neighbor who has lived in her Old Northeast home for 20 years. "'Those people don't lock their cars --they are stupid,' is what they tell each other."
Beautiful, quiet Old Northeast in St. Petersburg is becoming a thieves' "treasure island". WTSP
Neighbors like Raskin feel vulnerable when others leave their doors unlocked.
Now, Christie said she is changing her attitude a little bit.
"I park a car out back in the ally and I double, triple check that one."
Below are some other car burglaries that occurred in the area that police believe could be connected to the Old Northeast burglaries.
Raw Video: Car burglaries in Old Northeast
Detectives have seen 18 incidents of car burglaries since June 30 in the historic Old Northeast neighborhood. The area is bound by 22nd Avenue North to 9th Avenue North, from 3rd Street to Tampa Bay. WTSP