DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Families in the Lake Highlands area remain on edge Thursday, as the search for a rapist continues. Three attacks on women in their homes have taken place within the past month, and area residents are now actively pursuing any and all plans to protect themselves and their loved ones.

A meeting was held Wednesday night at the Lake Highlands High School gymnasium. One of the first items on the agenda was an issue of lighting in the neighborhood. Police said that it is much too dark at night, making Lake Highlands more vulnerable. Authorities urged residents to leave on the lights at their homes, and add more lighting if necessary. So far, the attacks have happened in homes when it was dark outside.

Police also recommended that residents be more careful when locking up their homes. Use deadbolts, check all window locks, and do not go outside at night unless it is absolutely necessary.

But that is just one level of protection.

A self-defense expert also showed residents how to protect themselves if they are confronted by an attacker. If you decide to fight, he said, then fight to the finish. And, when you have an opportunity, run away from the situation and seek help. The Dallas Police Department explained that there are numerous special teams of law enforcement set up in the neighborhood, engaged in finding the suspect and protecting citizens.

The first rape took place on February 22, and police have been unable to name any suspects. Authorities even admit that they are not sure if this is a serial rapist, or if there are multiple suspects at large. The entire situation has left residents uneasy, to say the least. “The fact is, we don’t know if it’s one, two or three people,” said resident Betsy McBee. “I really don’t feel safe until we know that one or all of them are apprehended.”

Concerned residents asked many other questions during the meeting. “I’m wondering, is there any undercover officers? I feel we’ve scared him off to another neighborhood,” one woman said. “We want him caught.” Police would not elaborate on the type of operations being conducted, but they are hoping that citizens can also act as additional eyes and ears for law enforcement. Anything suspicious should be reported to police immediately.

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