A rash of brazen home burglaries has some residents of the Southwood Park neighborhood on edge, judging by their comments on Facebook.
And as police pour more resources into the area, a meeting is planned next week to update those who live there on the crimes.
“The area has been targeted by either a burglar or burglars to a point where we’re concerned on a number of levels,” said Officer Michael Joyner, a spokesman for the Fort Wayne Police Department.
The M.O. for the burglaries in the southwest side neighborhood has been similar in almost every case:
Someone is breaking into homes in the middle of the night by either pushing in or cutting the screens out of open windows.
They’ve been taking cash or objects they can liquidate quickly, Joyner said, ignoring debit and credit cards.
Police have even found purses dumped out in yards and on a picnic table, with the cash and other items missing but credit cards still there.
What’s worse is that these burglaries occur while people are inside the homes sleeping – something that whoever is committing the burglaries probably knows.
“These individuals know someone is home, so the possibility of confrontation is great,” Joyner said.
Joyner said in one week earlier this month, there were 11 reported burglaries in the area. Homes in the Harrison Hill and Shorewood to Pettit neighborhoods have also been hit.
As the break-ins began to occur with more frequency, residents of Southwood Park have taken to the neighborhood’s Facebook with their concerns.
Police apparently told residents the burglaries began with detached garages before becoming home break-ins.
In one case, car keys and a car were even stolen, according to the Facebook page.
“It’s time to stay up all night and watch!!” one woman wrote on the page. “Our neighborhood is too good to let this make people want to move.”
“I’m tired of living in fear and would be willing to share a shift in the midnight to 6 a.m. timeframe if anyone else is interested,” wrote another woman.
“These criminals are going to enter the wrong house and someone will shoot them…I’m thinking that will solve the problem quickly,” still another woman wrote. “I’ve never been a fan of guns, but if that’s what it takes to keep my family safe…consider it done!”
The neighborhood was the scene of a brutal beating earlier this summer where police found a bloodied woman inside her Pasadena Drive home.
That particular case – in which an arrest has not been made – does not share many of the details that have gone along with the burglaries, Joyner said.
But when asked if it could be related to the break-ins Joyner said that “anything is possible.”
Joyner will be on hand to lead a crime prevention meeting with residents of the neighborhood Monday at the Shawnee branch of the Allen County Public Library.