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By Tom Mustin

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Criminals are finding Highlands Ranch to be an inviting target.

highlands ranch 4 Homeowners Nervous As Summer Crime Wave Intensifies

(credit: CBS)

Investigators say the suburban setting may have given residents a false sense of security in the past. Now, after dozens of crimes this month, residents are slowly getting the message.

Resident Dianne Detmer told CBS4’s Tom Mustin she has had enough after the recent crime wave in her neighborhood.

“It just seems to be exponentially growing … and what can we do?” Detmer said.

highlands ranch 2 Homeowners Nervous As Summer Crime Wave Intensifies

CBS4’s Tom Mustin interviews Dianne Detmer. (credit: CBS)

Since July 1, Highlands Ranch has seen a staggering 71 vehicles broken into or stolen, along with 53 burglaries.

Three of Dianne’s neighbors and her husband have all been targeted.

“There were four cars broken into at once,” she said. “They broke his passenger side window. All his things were in his middle console. They were even hidden you couldn’t even see them, but his iPhone and wallet were in there so they took that.”

highlands ranch 3 Homeowners Nervous As Summer Crime Wave Intensifies

(credit: CBS)

Dianne’s husband had his car hit at a nearby rec center. Other victims were simply parked in front of their homes. Surveillance video from early Friday morning showed a man checking for unlocked car doors.

highlands ranch 11 Homeowners Nervous As Summer Crime Wave Intensifies

(credit: CBS)

Another recent video showed a hooded man breaking into a Highlands Ranch home.

Investigators told Dianne that in some cases gangs from other cities are suspected.

“They could tie it back to one of the gangs from northern Denver. They come down, a group of people. They take a car, break a window and steal as much as they can then they’re on their way.”

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has added extra patrols and a special task force to combat the problem. They say the criminals are looking for crimes of opportunity. Open garage doors and unlocked cars make for easy targets.

But with no arrests and the number of victims growing daily, Dianne says she and her family deserve better.

“I just feel my safety is less and less every day,” she said.

The sheriff’s office says the crooks are looking for quick targets. To avoid becoming a victim, always lock your car and close your garage door.

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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