PSNI vow crackdown over knife muggings
The PSNI has vowed to clean up the streets of west Belfast after four teenagers were robbed at knifepoint for their mobile phones by two masked men.
A short time later another man was threatened with a screwdriver into handing over his phone and a sum of cash.
Police believe the two attacks on Tuesday night could be linked and have arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of armed robbery.
PSNI Chief Inspector Emma Bond said police are determined to make west Belfast a safe place.
She added that robberies of this nature “are of real concern to police and we take this type of incident extremely seriously”.
“A robbery of this type can be extremely distressing, not to mention the inconvenience of having your property taken.
“Police, along with the support of the local community, are determined to make west Belfast a safe place to go about your business.”
She added: “If you notice anything suspicious in your neighbourhood, contact police immediately.”
The two teenage girls and two teenage boys were attacked in the Falls Road area of the city shortly before 10pm on Tuesday.
They were approached by two masked men, one of whom is believed to have been armed with a knife, and were ordered to hand over their mobile phones.
Three mobile phones and a sum of cash were taken.
A short time later at 11.30pm a 32-year-old man was approached by two males in the Beechmount Avenue area and ordered to hand over his phone and some money.
The 21-year-old suspect, who was arrested a short time later, was last night assisting police with their inquiries.
SDLP councillor Colin Keenan said that criminals in the area who were once heavily involved in burglaries are becoming increasingly involved in street robberies and hijackings.
“It is quite worrying that these criminals are now using different tactics,” he said.
He added: “There has been a lot more community engagement with the PSNI.
“There is still some way to go but it has been very positive so far.
“Hopefully this engagement will continue and we can stop this type of crime occurring on our streets.”