Criminals invading homes in west Houston

August 6, 2010 5:06:22 AM PDT
Two home invasions, including a sexual assault, over the last few days have people in west Houston concerned, and investigators turning up patrol. They've happened around Dairy Ashford and Briar Forest. Residents say it seems that the daytime break-ins are on the rise, but what happened Wednesday afternoon has gotten everyone's attention. A woman was sexually assaulted in her home.

"We double lock our doors now," resident Cynthia Stange said.

Protecting themselves from intruders has become the No. 1 topic in Stange's west side home.

"We sat at the dinner table last night and talked about learning how to use guns," she said.

It was a serious conversation after a violent sex crime happened just around the corner.

"That worries me a lot. My daughter is 12," Stange said.

It was early Wednesday afternoon when police were called to a home in the 1700 block of Ashford Hollow. HPD says a man with a knife broke in through the back door and sexually assaulted the woman of the house. He stole nothing and got away.

Neighbors said her two small children were napping during the attack.

Stange watched as emergency crews responded.

"Four constables went down the street, and they had the fire engines and the ambulance," she said.

Couple that with a burglary that occurred on Thursday not even two miles away on Kirkwood near Briar Forest and the Harris County Precinct 5 Constables Office is stepping up patrols, although they still need residents to be vigilant.

"The biggest thing is just be conscious of your surroundings. Even though you're inside your home, you can't let your comfort level down," Pct. 5 Chief Terry Thurman said. "Make sure your doors are locked. If you see things, call. If you hear things, call."

"Neighbors helping neighbors -- that's how that happens," Stange said.

Stange says she has renewed her interest in a strong neighborhood watch program. For now, though, she has a warning to the criminals.

"They're going to be surprised," she said. "I don't know who has firearms and who doesn't."

No other details about the sexual assault were immediately available because HPD said that case has yet to be assigned to a detective.

A neighborhood watch meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, and residents are expected to talk about that case.

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