Neighbors pack safety meeting after violent home invasions

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Three violent home invasions within the past week on the north side of Indianapolis - including one Tuesday morning - are frightening homeowners, who met Tuesday night to look for answers.

Hundreds of people from Meridian Hills and Williams Creek attended a neighborhood meeting at Second Presbyterian Church on N. Meridian Street to discuss how they can protect themselves and look out for each other.

Many inside the packed meeting told officers they're simply scared. They said these violent crimes were also a wake-up call for renewed vigilance.

They attended the meeting to find out where the investigation stands and what they can do to stay safe. Police assured them they're conducting extra patrols in the north side neighborhoods, both in uniform and undercover.

They said even though they've made several arrests in the home invasion last week that involved a sexual assault on a mother and daughter, they have identified more suspects in that case who they plan to question soon.

Officers also talked about how to protect yourself. They said in these recent crimes, the bad guys were casing homes, looking for easy targets.

Some simple steps for safety: keep your garage closed, keep valuables away from windows and always report unusual activity.

Many neighbors said after listening to police, they felt safer than when they walked in the meeting.

"We have two little kids at home and, you know, regardless whether they say it's a light crime area, it just happens that in the last month there's been a lot within walking distance of our home and we just don't feel secure anymore. So I wanted to find out what's being done and if crimes are related and get more information," said Patricia Cominsky.

"It's just crazy how it makes you think differently," added her husband, Joe. "So as Patricia said, we've increased the security system and lighting property differently and better than we used to and trying to do whatever we can to protect those kids."

"I think we all have to be on guard. I think it was helpful to find out that they (police) think it was probably random and there are things we can all do - the most important being, when you see this many of our neighbors together, that you really do need to report things and that was something they tried to make clear," said Pam Rons.

Another suggestion from police: If you get a knock at your door from a stranger and they won't leave or you feel something just isn't right, turn on your porch lights and call 911. Police said these criminals have been known to knock on doors, before they break-in or choose their targets.

And IMPD reports a huge increase in calls to start CrimeWatch programs.