WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A bear in Westfield is becoming more of nuisance for families in one neighborhood and it’s causing some concern for their safety.

The bear is a regular in the neighborhood, but now some homeowners are concerned because the bears are becoming more bold and causing thousands of dollars in property damage.

Angelo Dellaripa has lived in Westfield for 21 years but it’s just been the past four years that he has seen this kind of bear activity on his property. Last Friday Angelo’s neighbor called him to tell him a part of his fence was down and Angelo said knew the downed fence and strewn trash were a result of the actions of a black bear.

He said bears have been coming to eat from his bird feeders, which he removes at night, even bending the metal posts they are suspended on. Bears have even entered his garage to get at bird seed, a high calorie food they like to eat before winter.

“When this happened with my fence, coming inside the pool and in my house… I just think people should be more aware that there’s a danger out there,” said Angelo. He credits his dog, Reggie, for keeping many hungry bears at bay. However Westfield residents say bears are a common sight.

“I was walking on the driveway and there was a bear out in the yard, didn’t even know it was there! It kind of scared me when I saw it,” said James Maher of Westfield.

The bear population has been steadily growing in the state of Massachusetts and MassWildlife currently estimates the population to be at 4,500. Wildlife experts say to keep food sources out of your yard. Bears are attracted to bird feeders, chicken coops, pet food and compost.

“It’s inevitable that bears are still going to be utilizing suburban environments. They are still going to move through the area and they might amble through your backyard, but if they don’t find a food reward, there they will spend less time on your property,” said Wildlife Biologist Susan McCarthy of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Wildlife experts say if there are a lot of available food sources for bears, they will stay active throughout the winter.