Sikhs join together to fight crime

March 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Members of the valley's Sikh community reached out to the Fresno County Sheriff's Department following a rash of home invasion robberies that have them in fear for their safety. Hundreds of valley Sikhs gathered at a central Fresno temple Sunday, joined by a member of the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

They say a recent spike in home invasion robberies throughout the valley has them concerned. "We're seeing every home is a potential target. So with that in mind, our community is becoming proactive," said organizer Gurpreet Mann.

While members of the Sikh community don't believe they're being targeted specifically, several victims have been of East Indian descent.

One Clovis man at Sunday's event, who didn't want to be identified, said his home was hit in February, when a group of men forced his two young daughters to guide them through the house while their grandparents were tied up and held at gunpoint.

He said the entire family now lives in fear. "My children were traumatized, and they will wake up in the middle of the night and start crying for no reason," he said.

Members of the Sikh community say they invited the Fresno County Sheriff's Department to join them Sunday in hopes of raising awareness.

They also wanted share crime prevention tips. Deputy Chris Curtice said these types of events are what community oriented policing is all about. "They contacted us first, they jumped on it.

They were very aggressive about it. They got a hold of us and we got here as quickly as possible," said Curtice.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department is investigating whether some of the recent home invasions are related.

They're also advising people to avoid keeping valuables and cash inside your homes.

If you do become a victim, they said you should follow the robber's demands.