GARY, Ind. (CBS) — In one week’s time, Gary police responded to at least 85 burglaries.

Between Monday, Nov. 14, and Nov. 21, residents in the Brunswick, Glen Park and Miller neighborhoods, in the Tarrytown and Marshalltown subdivisions, and the Concord Commons and Oak Knoll Renaissance apartments returned home to find intruders had been there.

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That’s 12 per day.

Investigators estimate residents have reported about 2,200 burglaries so far this year. Of those, about 120 cases have resulted in criminal charges.

Although an increase in burglaries and robberies is typical at this time of year, even veteran officers are stunned by the number of calls they receive for burglaries.

“I was out of patrol for almost five years, then two weeks back the first thing I noticed was the burglaries,” Fraternal Order of Police president-elect Sam Abegg said.

While patrol units often run from call to call, thieves have the time to watch when residents leave and determine their daily schedule.

“They’re just like us. They get up in the morning and go to work,” police spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King said.

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And the criminals aren’t waiting for darkness to creep into homes.

Daily, police are called to burglaries in progress. Last week officers arrested two young men as they loaded items near the back door of a Glen Park home at 4 p.m.

More often, however, the theft remains undiscovered for hours until a homeowner discovers a broken window or an open door.

Residents can take precautions to avoid being victims, King said.

“Change up your routine,” she suggested. “If they can afford a few timers, set those to go and off at different times.”

When making big purchases, such as a flat-screen television, computer or game system, don’t leave the boxes on the curb.

“The main thing is to be watchful, period,” she said.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)