NORTH HILLS ( — Police are urging Southern California residents to be vigilant of daring burglars who are coming into homes while people are still inside.

One resident took action against a couple of these “hot prowl” burglars after they fled her home in the unincorporated area of Stevenson Ranch in Santa Clarita.

Last Thursday, the woman was cleaning her home, located in the 26100 block of Quartz Meza Lane, when she heard footsteps. She called out, prompting two men to run out of her kitchen with her purse.

“When she ran outside the house, they met in the middle of the street and she was screaming for help. She freaked out and said, ‘That’s my purse, give it back,’ grabbed it from them and snapped a really great picture of him,” said Terri Hughes, who lives near the burglary victim.

A similar burglary happened in North Hills Tuesday morning. Police said a barefooted man wearing a poncho came through an unlocked bedroom window, to the surprise of a woman and her dog.

The woman hit the man and told him to leave.

The suspect ran out the front door without further incident.

These incidents have many women on high alert.

“A lot of our neighbors are scared because it does happen anywhere and our neighbors are really freaked out it’s happening anytime during the day,” Hughes said.

Police advise residents to keep doors and windows locked, even while at home, and to be mindful who residents let inside their house. They urged residents who find themselves targeted by a hot prowl burglar to avoid chasing the suspect. Police said the majority of these suspects are trying to get money to buy drugs.

“Once they’re leaving, the risk to yourself is gone. It’s that initial confrontation in the home that makes you vulnerable, and that’s what you want to be prepared to deal with, however you decide,” LAPD Lt Paul Vernon said.

Hughes, along with other women in her neighborhood, said they’re preparing themselves. They’re planning a defense equipment class and neighborhood watch meeting.

“To arm yourself, defend yourself, whatever it takes…we’re starting here right away,” Hughes said.

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