West U residents teaming against crime

August 24, 2011 8:46:44 PM PDT
After a summer scarred with violent home burglaries, neighbors in West University are joining forces to stop the crime.

After a series of home burglaries, residents called a meeting on Wednesday with their police department to get answers, and what they heard is there's a certain way the burglars operate.

Just a couple of weeks, the Peters family chalked "pray for rain" on their sidewalk. Now living in West University Place, they might be chalking for something else.

"They will ring the door bell and if no one answers then they go to the rear of the house," West U resident Kris Peters said.

That's the modus operandi of a burglary ring she's been hearing about from her neighborhood email. West U police say, once they make their way to the back of the home, they shatter a window or French door.

They target safes, jewelry and some electronics. It's such an issue residents called a meeting with the West U PD to ask questions.

This couple was hit just two weeks ago and feel someone was watching their house.

"At 1:30 in the afternoon I left and then five minutes later, they were in my house," one concerned resident said at the meeting.

George Nachtigall says their burglary matches what investigators are seeing in other burglaries.

"They took jewelry, they took some electronics and they took my United States Department of Justice shield," he said.

In all, West University police say there have been 16 home burglaries since January, an average of two a month. The department and its 24 officers are now working with the major crimes task force and HPD to bust the ring.

In the meantime, the Peters family will be chalking in a different mind set.

"We certainty have a heightened sense of awareness now," Peters said.

After the meeting, the West Unversity Police Department is working with other agencies and is looking to relaunch its neighborhood block program to start communicating with block captains about what they are seeing.

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