Now though, that's starting to change.
"It could happen to anybody," said Margaret Jenkins of Plumsteadville, Pa. "I don't usually have those kinds of fears. Now, I'm going to lock the door at night when I'm here by myself."
Investigators say there've been approximately a dozen such robberies over the past 10 weeks in Buckingham Twp., Plumsteadville, Solebury, and Upper Makefield Twp. in Bucks County.
One of the victims in Buckingham Township even came face-to-face with the thief.
"He was actually inside the house when the homeowner was home. She confronted them, they were both scared, and he took off," said Officer Dean Johnson of Buckingham Twp. Police.
What makes these crimes all the more hurtful is that the thief has focused on taking high-end jewelery, including items with strong sentimental value.
That includes items like wedding rings and rosaries... he even stole one woman's military medals from World War II given to her by her father who recently passed away.
Now, neighbors in these communities are on high alert.
"We live in the woods, and we just assumed it's as safe as can be, and obviously now it's not," said Kim Herzberg of Plumsteadville.
"I think our police force is competent, but I certainly plan on alerting some of our neighbors and raise our level of alertness," said Thom Howland of Pipersville.
Since the thief has been taking such expensive items, investigators believe the monetary value of what's been taken is in the neighborhood of $100,000.
Anyone with information is asked to call Buckinham Twp. police at 215-794-8813