Judy Shiels has lived in Palos Hills for 33 years. She raised her two children here and has always felt safe, never had any problems.
On July 2 that feeling changed. Her house on the 9800 block of 99th Street was burglarized. Her belongings were thrown about, her back door was smashed in.
"I felt so violated," Shiels said.
The burglars struck in the middle of the day.
"They came in through the backyard, jammed the door off the hinges and frame and went right up to the bedrooms," she said.
From there they went into her bedroom and then her daughter's room. The burglars made off with all of her gold jewelry and took about $2,000 in cash.
"It was devastating," she said.
It may have been devastating, but Shiels isn't they type of person to go away quietly. She has long fought to make her community a better place and isn't stopping now. She contacted Patch to tell her story, to urge her neighbors to pay attention.
"People have got to get involved and look out for the neighbors, " she warns.
Two other homes in Palos Hills have been hit by burglaries in the last few weeks.
She said that her front door was left open during the burglary, a door her family never uses. If neighbors notice signs like this and report them to police future crimes might be prevented, she said.
Officers told Shiels that the burglars often time their invasions during the day, taking advantage of people being away at work.
While officers were looking around her ransacked home and crime techs from the Cook County Sheriff's Office were dusting for prints, Shiels knew she wouldn't be backing down.
"I can't let this lay, because I've lived safely there for so many years," she said. "I want the residents to be aware of this and any time you see something unusual to just call police to respond."
Shiels hopes by speaking out about her experience that it eliminates the silent approach that suburbs sometime take when dealing with crime in their town.
For tips on how to protect yourself and your home read the following posts from our Public Safety section: