Keeping Your Guard Up: Historic Ft. Wayne Neighborhood Fights Back Against Break-Ins

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 24, 2013 Updated Sep 24, 2013 at 6:02 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21 Alive) --- Getting serious about snuffing out a burglary problem in a historic Fort Wayne neighborhood.

City police and residents are taking steps to try and minimize the threat.

We're talking about an area that doesn't see many break-ins.

Indeed, it’s not the norm for the Southwood Park neighborhood near Foster Park to see this type of crime, and people living there have no interest in letting it go unchecked.

Between September 6th and September 19th, 30 break-ins or attempted burglaries were reported to police from the Southwood Park area or adjacent housing additions like Fairmont and Illsley Place.

Police say the crook or crooks, in many cases, scoped out open windows, where the screen could be slashed with a knife to gain entry and steal purses, car keys, or other easily accessible items.

Police have no reason to believe the recent break-ins are connected to one earlier this summer, in which a thief attacked a homeowner on Pasadena Drive with a hammer.

But they don't want other residents to be vulnerable to such a nightmare.

" What happens if this person (the thief) is confronted (by a homeowner), so this is why people have to take the time and do the right things to protect themselves and their property and their family," said Officer Mike Joyner, a spokesperson for FWPD.

" I grew up in the neighborhood and I remember not locking my doors at night and I still feel safe as can be in that neighborhood, and I want to continue and I want my kids to grow up in that neighborhood with the same sense of well being and safety that I always had," said attorney Andrew Boxberger, a Southwood Park Board Member.

The burglaries have not been a problem since September 19th, but leaders of Southwood Park aren't taking any chances.

A crime prevention forum has been set up for September 30th.

On Southwood Park's Facebook page, an entry says that a Fort Wayne police officer will be on hand to discuss any developments in the burglaries "in our normally quiet neighborhood".

Crime prevention tips, such as closing your windows at bedtime, will get a lot of attention at the forum.

The event will be held 7 p.m. September 30th at the Shawnee library branch near Bishop Luers High School.

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