Ryker's Ridge is a tight-knit community. Many families have lived in the area for generations.

Residents now are dealing with a problem that has left them angry, fearful and frustrated.

In the past year, more than 20 theft and suspicious person reports have been filed in the area.

The residents are looking out for one another, but the problem continues to escalate.

Residents did the right thing when they invited Sheriff John Wallace to a community meeting Sunday night to discuss the problem.

Wallace told the residents that they have a right to defend themselves if they feel their safety is at risk.

We urge caution - as we're sure the sheriff does - in the area of self protection.

A lot of the illegal activity has been in the daylight hours. That's when people are coming and going to work and now that school is out, kids are outdoors.

It's best to leave some things to the law enforcement officials.

What the residents should continue to do is be aware of unusual activity and report it immediately.

Many neighborhood watch programs have set up telephone trees, a structured telephone calling list that enables information to be spread quickly.

Wallace promised increased patrols and a greater police presence in the area.

A strong network of like-minded residents will bring this situation to a resolution.