Neighbors raise crime watch talks after break-ins

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Another frightening home invasion has police searching for yet another group of violent criminals and residents renewing talk of crime watch organizations.

The most recent attack unfolded just before 5 a.m. Tuesday at the Annaberry Park Apartments on the city's far north side. Police say four men wearing Halloween masks and carrying knives and a revolver tied up and pistol-whipped the four victims.

No one was seriously hurt, but the intruders got away with cash and electronics.

Neighbors say it's a scary scenario, that they're all too familiar with these days.

In the meantime, four men arrested in connection with a different home invasion, have now officially been charged.

Alexander Dupree, Trae Spells, Michael Pugh and Demetre Brown are accused in an attack at a 79th Street home last week. They've also been connected to a previous home invasion.

Meanwhile, police say they've had more calls from citizens interested in starting neighborhood crime watches. On the city's southeast side, police there have reported more calls from people in the past four to five days, asking how to start a neighborhood crime watch.

Residents from Meridian Hills and near 79th Street are meeting with police Tuesday night to talk about what they can do to better protect themselves and their homes going forward.

One neighborhood on the south side, though, Buck Creek Village Neighborhood, where one of the recent home invasions happened, doesn't have a crime watch and has had a hard time getting one started.

When it comes to taking care of his family, Tim Gallagher is more certain of being able to do that, than fixing his 25-year-old daughter's car that happens to be on the fritz.

"I protect my family and my house," said Gallagher. "If somebody comes in my house uninvited, its going to be the coroner here."

Sunday night, armed gunmen broke into Gallagher's neighbor's home, pistol-whipping and robbing him.

"It won't happen to me, no. I have guns usually on me 24/7," said Gallagher.

But not all of Gallagher's neighbors do.

"They're scared. They thought this was a safe neighborhood and they're still having a hard time believing that it happened in our neighborhood," Gallagher explained.

With no neighborhood crime watch to speak of though, Gallagher hopes the recent events across the city could jump start one here.

"It will probably open a lot of people's eyes and we'll realized that we need one," he said.

Maybe, maybe not.

"We get a few people who've wanted the crime watch, but the majority say that they don't," explained Buck Creek Village Neighborhood Association President Chris Brand.

Brand, a stay-at-home dad, said starting a crime watch in Buck Creek has been difficult.

"The response has been fairly negative over the years. It's been brought up several times," said Brand.

He explained that people were concerned if crime watch signs went up in the neighborhood, property values would go down.

Brand said it's also been difficult to get people to commit to joining a group and taking time out of their schedules to maintain it.

"If they don't come to the meeting, are they going to support the crime watch anyway?" asked Brand.

"I think we need to get one together," Gallagher said, despite Brand's concerns.

Gallagher said he's certainly on board with one, but said he's not worried about a gang breaking into his house.

"I have more than one bullet," Gallagher said, adding he's not afraid to use them.