Dawn Sample and her family were jolted out of bed about 4:30 a.m. when a vandal threw a sprinkler head through the glass door on their Sussex Drive home, she said.
"I thought they were trying to shoot us. It was that loud," Sample said.
When family members went outside, they found all four tires on her son's SUV had been slashed, as had all four tires on his girlfriend's Camaro, which was parked outside the home.
Vandals had also punctured a tire on a pickup belonging to Ken Cantrell, who lives next door to the Samples.
"Last night, somebody slashed tires on cars along our street, broke into two garages and tried to get into homes on Kent [Drive]," Cantrell said. "There's something wrong with this picture."
Cape Girardeau Police Department spokesman Darin Hickey said the department takes incidents like those that occurred Tuesday morning seriously.
Neighborhood residents said they were a little frustrated by police response to the incidents. Cantrell said a neighbor reported some items had been stolen from his garage, which he had left open overnight, but police only took a report over the phone.
Hickey said there is a lot that homeowners can do to protect themselves from thieves. Thefts are often crimes of opportunity, he said. If a thief sees an open door, they are going to investigate it.
Moe Sandfort, who lives nearby on Derbyshire Lane, said he was surprised thieves or vandals would be brazen enough to target the neighborhood. Most of the streets end in cul-de-sacs and there are few ways out of the area.
"You can only get in or out of here on a couple of different streets. There's no place to go," Sandfort said. "It's typically pretty quiet out here."
Cantrell said he's already spoken to several neighbors and they intend to activate a neighborhood watch.
That's a good start in helping prevent crime, Hickey said. He added that people should never assume their property's entirely safe. Leave lights on at night, install motion lights, close and lock doors and keep valuables out of sight, Hickey said. Also, regardless of whether a neighborhood watch is organized, people should stay in touch with their neighbors and let them know when they are going to be away from home, Hickey said. Hickey said people should also report suspicious people or vehicles in their neighborhoods.
"We're going to do some extra patrols in those neighborhoods," he said. "We're going to try to prevent any crimes."
Sussex Drive, Cape Girardeau, Mo.