A spate of crimes in rural communities south of Rotorua has residents on edge.
A police spokeswoman has confirmed officers had dealt with "a number of incidents in the wider Reporoa area in recent days".
These included an aggravated robbery involving firearms, and burglaries, including thefts of motorbikes and a boat, as well as vehicle thefts in the Kaingaroa Forest area.
On January 21, firearms were stolen from a Reporoa property after a man was threatened at gunpoint and hit with a baseball bat in his home at 2.45am.
He suffered minor injuries.
"Other firearms, ammunition, and electronic items including mobile phones were stolen from the property, before the offenders left in a vehicle," Detective Chris Nairn said.
A Reporoa resident, who did not want to be named, told the Rotorua Daily Post the crime problem was "getting really quite scary".
"I have two young children and I can honestly say I don't sleep that well knowing these people are stalking our community. People are seeing cars coming up their driveways at all times of the day and night, these people have no shame and no fear of police."
She said thefts had been a problem in Reporoa for many years and "it just seems to be getting worse".
"Sadly someone is going to get seriously hurt or worse, before long, in a community that has had enough of being scared and ripped off. People will start taking things into their own hands or there will be more of the home invasions with guns.
"The bottom line is we desperately need a permanent police presence in the community at all times."
Former Reporoa resident Alex Phillips agrees.
He helped organise public meetings, and spent months campaigning, to set up community patrols or a new neighbourhood watch group in the rural village he was born and raised in, before moving away this time last year.
"I was prompted by the crime rate. I read one story on Facebook about someone being inside their house with their kids and an intruder arriving. That hit home for me. I've got one child. It's not a very pleasant thing to see the same problems back again, it's a bit rough."
He said this latest spate of crimes was a strong reminder that the need for a community patrol or watch, remained.
"It's definitely needed. It is quite a big commitment to get it off the ground. It was not as easy as I thought it would be and when I left I couldn't keep trying to push for it from afar, but at the same time there was nobody really keen to take it on."
Rural Community Board chairwoman Shirley Trumper encouraged residents to be vigilant.
"We need to be keeping an eye out for suspicious behaviour, questioning anything that looks unusual and taking number plates and details where they can.
"With the pressures on police these days, they can't be here all the time, and can only act on the information they have. So people must report what they know."
Trumper said she would love to see a community patrol in Reporoa.
"It is really hard to get people acting on crime when there's not a lot happening, but when there is, we find people jump on the bandwagon and say let's get on to this guys."
Police are investigating the surge in reported crime, and encouraging neighbours to look after one another.
"Ensure you take all possible safety precautions regarding your property and vehicles. If you see a crime being committed, please call 111 immediately," the spokeswoman said.