Asian families in Northampton are "afraid to leave their homes" after 13 houses were targeted in gold burglaries across the county this month, says a town councillor.
Attacks on Asian communities in Northamptonshire have seen 34 incidents since November, where homes were burgled for high-value goods and jewellery.
Groups of up to eight men at a time have been entering homes and use threats and violence to steal precious items, mainly gold. On one occasion a child was injured by burglars.
Now, Northampton Borough councillor Enam Haque (Labour, Castle ward) says Asian families are afraid to leave their houses empty or leave relatives in the house alone.
He said: "People are fearful of leaving their houses empty and are fearful of leaving family members in the house. In recent cases children have been victims of threatening behaviour.
"It is getting very serious. The perpetrators are using forced entry to gain access even while the occupant of the property is there. In some cases vulnerable children and older people are in the house.
"The level of violence being used is despicable. My fear is this type of crime will have a long-lasting effect, particularly on children."
Northamptonshire Police warned this week that families take extra precautions to put valuable items in safety deposit boxes and be careful when answering the front door.
A 26-year-old man was arrested and bailed last week in relation to a burglary but so far no items have been recovered. This is likely because the gold is being sold on quickly and melted.
Councillor Haque said: "There needs to be extra policing on our streets to bring these organised criminals to justice.
"I also welcome the good neighbours who are keeping a watch out for each other and reporting suspicious behaviour in our communities. Neighbourhood watch schemes are being set up with help from the police and this also to be welcomed."