Police believe suspects in Granger-area robberies connected to robbery near Notre Dame
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Police have arrested three teenage suspects in a string of robberies in Granger-area subdivisions (read more about it here). South Bend police tell us they believe those suspects are connected to the May 20 robbery of a family who was visiting for Notre Dame graduation. That robbery happened in the Harter Heights neighborhood near Notre Dame. Read more about it below.
ORIGINAL STORY POSTED TUESDAY NIGHT: People in a South Bend neighborhood are asking for a bigger police presence. They say the Harters Heights neighborhood near Notre Dame is becoming an easy target for criminals.
A family who was visiting was robbed Sunday. It was graduation weekend for Notre Dame students. The family was here to see their loved one walk across the stage.
One homeowner says it's events like that which put visitors at risk.
Many homes in Harters Heights have turned into rentals for guests coming to Notre Dame events.
"No one lives there permanently,” said homeowner Mary Aragon. “This whole block. The entire block. So we have a lot of people here for big events. There is something going on at Notre Dame all of the time. Whether it's football season, graduation, summer camps.”
Aragon says when big events happen, guests who rent homes become targets - including one family who was renting the house next to Aragon.
"These people walked right up the sidewalk. They were getting out of the back of their car and they just thought they were teenagers. And they pulled a gun and put it to their head and said ‘Get down! If you move I'll blow your head off!’”
According to Crime Reports - a third party database that displays data provided by the South Bend Police Department - in the past 6 months there have been 11 violent crimes and 44 property crimes in that neighborhood.
South Bend police tell WSBT22 the neighborhood is patrolled by an officer.
But Aragon says she wants more done.
"Even if there was one squad car rolling around here that would be a deterrent for someone to walk up to the sidewalk and put a gun in someone's face.”
A South Bend police spokesman says every week they look over reports and determine which locations in the city need more patrols.
They also adjust patrols and provide information for officers in those areas.
Aragon says renters need to warn their guests to be on alert when they rent these homes.
“Keep your doors locked all of the time. Even during the day time and be very aware of your surrounding when you're coming back and forth. Out of your car into your house.”
Police say they can't be everywhere at every moment. That's why they ask people to call if they see anything out of the ordinary.
Aragon says the people who live in the neighborhood full time do keep an eye out and post about suspicious activity on a neighborhood Facebook page.