Miranda and her sister were sound asleep last July when their father encountered an intruder with a hunting knife hiding in the basement of their Langley home.

Jamie Shaw believes the man had been in the family home for almost two hours.

"If I hadn't noticed that, I would've gone to work and this guy would've been home alone with my daughters," Jamie Shaw said.

The incident wasn't isolated: Residents of a rural Langley neighbourhood say they've seen an alarming escalation in break-ins and property theft.

Jamie Shaw posted a large spray-painted sign on his lawn reading "Thieves Work in This Neighbourhood." He says the reaction was immediate.

"As people drove past my house, they'd stop in and tell me that they too had their property stolen," he said.

Shaw is now part of a Block Watch program that's pinpointed several local properties believed to be tied to the spike in crime.

He's one of dozens of people demanding authorities to do more to protect them, and on Tuesday night, dozens of citizens fed-up with break-ins and living in fear came together to call for action from their mayor and the RCMP.

One woman said when she has spoken to police she was "brushed off."

"We're told we should not worry, and it won't happen again," she said.

Another woman at the meeting told officials she had a nervous breakdown out of fear she would be targeted.

"I've been crying constantly. It just feels like hell on earth living next to these people," she said.

The mayor of Langley, also a victim of theft, says he plans to work with the community to find a solution.

Langley RCMP Spt. Murray Power said it's alive to the concerns of the community.

"We've been in contact with a number of people. We know the concerns have been out there since the incident in July, which concerns us all," he said.

Langley RCMP have plans to meet with concerned residents in the coming weeks to organize a coordinated block watch involving both neighbours and police.

Officials say communication is key and they're hoping to improve the dialogue surrounding this situation, in order to get everyone involved and on the same page.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's Sarah MacDonald