(KMOV) -- Here's a new ruse to watch out for: Police say a man goes around ringing doorbells to see if anyone is home before breaking into a string of homes.
The latest happened in Fairview Heights. If someone answers, the would-be burglar might try to solicit work like cleaning gutters, but if no one comes to the door the thief sees it as a chance to break in.
This is just a new example of the latest burglary attempt. Home break-ins are part of a growing trend on both sides of the river.
Madison County says burglaries are up nearly 30 percent over last year. And while overall crime is down in both St. Louis City and County, burglaries are on the rise -- up nearly 5 percent in the city and 7 percent in the county.
"Burglary is tied to most specifically economic conditions, and also, in the case of St. Louis, our heroin problem," St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Dan Isom said. "Everyone in the community is being challenged by that in terms of residential burglaries and burglaries of vacant buildings."
Police say heroin users often steal and sell scrap metal for quick cash. The city has responded by creating tougher laws that require buyers to track all sales and sellers.