Mom-led block watch increases patrols in light of serial shooter case

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A West Phoenix community has been on edge for weeks ever since learning about the Phoenix Police Department's hunt for a serial shooter. A neighborhood watch group led by a group of mothers has been increasing its patrols.

The Peralta Lions Block Watch said they formed because they were fed up with crime in the area. They want to keep their kids safe, especially now that a serial shooter is out there.

Police have connected seven deaths, attributing them all to the same suspect or suspects. Two other people, one of them a 16-year-old boy, were wounded.

SPECIAL SECTION: Serial killer on the loose in Phoenix

"We just want to be safe," Maribel Diaz, who is part of the block watch, told us. We met up with them at 4 p.m. on Monday, when it was about 105 degrees out. But the heat didn't keep them from hitting the pavement and going door to door near 51st Avenue and McDowell Road.Diaz said this group of moms started their efforts to combat robberies in the area about a year ago, but they've recently been ramping up their patrols day and night.

"We are scared, but we need to continue," Diaz said. "We need to keep living and keep doing whatever we can do to be safe."

"I've been living here for more than 20 years now, and this is the first time I've seen block watch ever come by," one neighbor told us after the block watch dropped by.

"All of my friends, we usually hang out and play basketball outside," said Christian Santiago, who also was paid a visit by the group. "With the killings, it's been hard because most of the parents don't let them go out."

Diaz said as a group of moms, the heart of their mission is their children.

"That's why we patrol," she said. "That's why we are involved in this -- because we want to be safe, so all kids can play outside," Diaz said.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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