Lake Highlands Residents Have Security on Mind

By Ray Villeda
|  Thursday, Mar 21, 2013  |  Updated 10:55 PM CDT
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Residents of a Lake Highlands neighborhood where three women have been sexually assaults by intruders in less than a month are on edge.

Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News

Residents of a Lake Highlands neighborhood where three women have been sexually assaults by intruders in less than a month are on edge.

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Security is top of mind for residents in the Lake Highlands area where three sexual assaults have occurred in less than a month.

An intruder attacked a woman in her home on Ferndale Road on Feb. 22. Another woman was assaulted in her home, also on Ferndale Road, on March 15. A third woman was attacked in her home on Aldwick Drive on March 19.

While more patrol cars visible -- including two specifically designated for the streets where the assaults took place -- several alarm company trucks were also seen in the neighborhood Thursday.

Katie Sheedy got an upgrade on her security system Thursday.

"It's very unnerving. I have a lot of friends; we're all just talking," she said.

Sheedy, who grew up in the Lake Highlands community, said she wants to feel safe there again. She even signed up for a self-defense class next week.

Photos and Videos

Security Top of Mind in Lake Highlands

Dallas police patrols and alarm company trucks were seen Thursday in the Lake Highlands neighborhood plagued by recent sexual assaults.
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More than a hundred people have signed up for it.

Kari Simpson, another homeowner, said she uses her alarm system more often now.

"Up until the latest attacks, I have not been real vigorous about setting it, but since like two days ago have been using all our security systems," Simpson said.

Local security company Trident Response Group is arranging at least two self-defense classes for people in the neighborhood.

"I spokes with a couple ladies today, and they said, 'Hey, we want to show the city that Lake Highlands isn't going to take this laying down. We're going to hit this full steam, and we're going to be prepared, and we're going to make the bad guy aware that we're prepared for them,'" said Kyle McCleery, who leads Trident's training division.

Counselors will be at neighborhood meeting next week to offer assistance.

"It impacts the victim, their family, anyone who's close to the victim and anyone who knows the victim and anyone who lives in the area, so it's a community issue, not an individual issue, and we're here to support any individuals, families and communities," said Monica Urbaniak, the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center director of prevention and outreach.

The Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center said it is receiving more calls from women and men in the neighborhood. Urbaniak said concerned community members and friends and family of the victims have called wanting to know what they can do to support them and how they can get involved in the community.

A prayer walk is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Ferndale and Church road in Lake Highlands.

Timeline of Attacks

Feb. 22 attack on Ferndale Road: A woman was assaulted in her home after a man broke in at about 12:45 a.m. and assaulted her in her bed at knifepoint. Police said the attacker entered the home through a window and was described as 35-years-old, black with bald or short hair and that he spoke with an African accent. He is estimated to be about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 180 lbs.

March 15 attack on Ferndale Road: A woman was assaulted at about 10 p.m. inside her home on Ferndale Road after a man entered the home through a window. The man was described as Latino and in his 20s with a round, chubby face and a buzz cut. He was clean-shaven and spoke English with a Spanish accent. He is estimated to be about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 200 lbs.

March 19 attack on Aldwick Drive: A woman was assaulted at about 6:45 a.m. inside her home on Aldwick Drive after a man kicked in the front door. The man is described as Latino, in his early 20s with light skin, a thin build and a thin mustache. He is estimated to be 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. The man spoke English with a Spanish accent and wore a gray hoodie and black leather gloves. Police said the man may have a scratch on his body.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the cases. Anyone with information is asked to call the police tip line at 214-670-4415.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.

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