TAMPA, Fla. — Police continue to blanket the Tampa neighborhood where a possible serial killer is still on the run.
Investigators said four people have been killed at random in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in the past several weeks.
While many who live in the neighborhood are grateful for the increased police presence, some feel the constant patrols are starting to take a toll on the innocent people trying to live their daily lives.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan faced a crowd of Seminole Heights residents concerned about the murders Thursday.
Michelle Yepsen-Fields said she’s changed her entire routine.
"I'm not leaving at night. I'm staying in my house. I have friends that aren't going to church at night because they're afraid,” she said.
Most residents expressed fears of the shooter—but the community’s atmosphere has changed and Yepsen-Fields said that’s scary too.
"There have been folks who've said that the police have been knocking on their doors and coming on in,” she said.
Police have been stopping people for questioning, conducting door-to-door searches, and in some cases, officers have outright arrested people with warrants for other crimes.
"The reason you're seeing officers wearing SWAT gear and everything is because this person is a cold-blooded killer and we're trying to catch him. And there is no doubt in my mind that cops are not exempt from his blood thirst,” said Dugan.
"I understand what they say, but you have to understand that people have rights,” said Yvette Lewis, a representative with the NAACP.
Dugan said residents do have the right not to let police search their house without a warrant and he’s told officers to use common sense.
Some residents said the extra policing could bring the crime rate down overall.
"I guess it's a good thing, you know. If people are wanted, they need to go to jail,” said Sam Esser, who lives in the neighborhood.
Cox Media Group