Neighborhood watch programs focus on crimes, burglaries and thefts

MESA, AZ - A 63-year-old woman is recovering after she was attacked by a burglar in her own home.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told ABC15 the woman stumbled upon the burglar when she returned home to her Fountain Hills house on Monday morning.

Since she came home earlier than she usually would, investigators said it's possible the burglar knew her schedule.

The man then tied her up, beat her and took off with money and jewelry.

Like most areas, burglaries in the Valley are one of the most common crimes.

There were 17,912 burglaries last year in the City of Phoenix.

Police agencies believe one way to help protect your property is to form a neighborhood watch program.

"Once you start paying attention," said Ben Smith a Mesa neighborhood watch commander, "[suspicious activity] is actually very obvious."

Smith told ABC15 he stores all of his neighbors' phone numbers in his cell phone and calls them immediately if he sees something out of the ordinary.

"You almost got to think like a criminal when you're out on patrol," he said.

Smith said he carries his cell phone in his hand during patrols and he either walks with his dog or another neighbor.

"Not a good idea to be looking when you're by yourself."

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