Lafayette homeowners stepping up after break-ins

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A sudden spike in crime in Lafayette has police and neighbors on alert.

In the past two weeks, gunmen have targeted banks, businesses and homes across the area. Now, residents are taking action to protect their families.

"Wow," said Lafayette resident Chris Preusker. "That's somebody really needing something."

A surveillance photo shows four gunmen bursting into a Lafayette bank on August 4. A couple days later, three men were arrested in an unrelated West Lafayette convenience store robbery. Police also want to know if they're tied to a hold-up at a Lafayette gas station.

Within blocks of Preusker's place, near 14th and South, residents were home during a break-in last week. Nearby, there were two more robbery attempts where suspects targeted cell phones. All on top of other crime in the area.

"Neighbor right over there got her apartment broken into, used a battering ram," Preusker said. "Just up that way, I heard about another one."

Then came last week's home invasion.

"Getting hit with a gun, right behind us. Kind of a little scary," said Matthew Minnich.

"I thought it was a good neighborhood. I thought we would be safe, considering we have the training station across the road," said Korri Parker, referring to the Lafayette Police training base.

Parker has a big treasure to keep safe - her preschooler. Like her neighbors, she's taking more responsibility, ready to call police and "locking the doors, making sure they're locked. Leaving my dog out of her crate at night."

"Kind of keep an eye on things now. On each other, keep our door locked," said Minnich.

"Keep our doors locked more often," said his friend, Juanita Potts.

"Makes me want to lock up my doors. We usually don't lock our doors," Preusker said.

Police are still looking for suspects in the home break-in, robbery attempts and the bank hold-up. But residents told Eyewitness News they still feel safe in their Lafayette neighborhoods and police say they should.