MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis police are warning residents about a dangerous sign of spring: crime.

According to police, burglars capitalize on the warmer weather by posing as solicitors. Police say the burglars will go door-to-door in order to case potential targets, homes that are currently empty. They'll then knock on the doors of a few nearby homes before returning to their selected target.

"They use it as kind of a ploy to make it appear that they're legitimately soliciting and have a legitimate purpose on the block," said Inspector Tony Diaz of the Minneapolis Police Department.

According to Diaz, a burglar using that tactic already struck earlier this month in the 4700 block of Emerson Avenue South.

Meantime, police suggest residents prevent these crimes by simply making it clear to anyone who's soliciting that they're home. They can do that by either answering the door, turning on the light or talking through the door. They also urge neighbors to look out for each other's homes.

Under a new city rule approved just last July most solicitors are also required to show a city-issued photo ID card. There is one exception: canvassers for religious, political or social groups not asking for money do not need a card.

Police also say the crime is difficult to track, given that people rarely spot the suspect knocking on the door before he strikes. They still urge people to take precautions across the board.

"We try to stay aheadof these guys and try to let people know just to keep an eye out," Diaz said, adding that people can call 911 if they see anything suspicious.

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