Neighbors increase crime watch efforts after recent crimes

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A group of thieves is still on the loose after a home invasion that included a violent sexual assault.

Tuesday's break-in was similar to another crime on the north side last week, where the criminals tied up and robbed a homeowner, then stole his car.

Homeowners associations are taking notice, increasing their crime watch efforts to keep their neighborhoods safe.

Despite signs that a crime has happened here, Jon Meeks refuses to live in fear in the north side neighborhood he's called home for 35 years.

"It's been a very livable community - quiet, not much traffic. Very nice for our two boys to grow up in," Meeks said.

But as he walks his dog past his neighbor's home where the violent home invasion took place 24 hours earlier, he's already made changes to his home.

"Well, we have a lot more exterior lighting on our home. So after dark, we leave all of that exterior lighting on," Meeks said.

The community has a Crime Watch Association, but IMPD says they haven't been active. They're not the only neighborhood.

"If they don't feel anything going on, they get relaxed and that opens the door to criminals on the lookout," said Gerardo Beccera, crime watch coordinator for IMPD's North District.

Beccera says calls about setting up crime watch groups have picked up in the last few days. He says setting up and maintaining an association is free, easy and potentially life-saving.

"Anything that makes you think that you should call 911, that's an opportunity to call 911," he said.

Meeks says a crime watch meeting has been set up for his neighborhood in the very near future.

"Certainly the events of yesterday just heighten the need to have that meeting," he said.

The IMPD North District alone has 300 active crime watch associations.

Learn more about how to set up a Crime Watch in your neighborhood.