(NewsNation) — Police are warning about a growing trend called burglary tourism that involves skilled thieves from other countries traveling to the U.S. to steal.
Police told NewsNation that it involves highly skilled thieves from other countries who are in the U.S. legally. One area seeing a spike in this kind of activity includes neighborhoods in Southern California like Redondo Beach.
This is a trend where people are actually coming in for legal reasons, but then committing crimes once they actually get inside the U.S. And it extends way beyond just Southern California.
Authorities from all across the country say they have their eyes on specific groups targeting their areas. These criminals are mostly coming from South America, specifically Colombia and Chile. Some are able to get into the country through a visa waiver program that provides them 90 days for tourism or business.
Homes across the country, including in Georgia, Texas, Washington, D.C., South Carolina and North Carolina, have all been hit. These thieves typically ship the items they steal back to their home countries or they just sell them before actually leaving.
Investigators say these crooks are creative when it comes to breaking in, most often bringing heavy-duty tools to bypass bolted locks and safes. Some of these residential burglaries have also been reported where there’s a two-story home and in those instances, the burglars go in through the second floor. Often, this is because home alarm systems only cover the first floor.
An alarm system is one defense that people can employ. In some ways, these are the same as any other burglary, and other defenses are good, including lighting in the front and back yards of homes.
For those with lots of valuables, heavy-duty safes are also a good idea, especially ones that can be bolted to the floor.