Belfast Telegraph

PSNI moves to ease fears of elderly on crime rates

By Rebecca Black

A senior police officer has moved to ease public concern after a string of high-profile and serious crimes involving older people.

Superintendent Simon Walls, who is the PSNI's lead on crimes against the elderly, told the Belfast Telegraph that in terms of burglaries, the elderly are under-represented as victims.

He said burglars are more likely to be opportunist, rather than targeting particular individuals or sections of the community.

The latest PSNI figures show that just 7% of all crimes in 2016/17 happened to an older person over 60.

Supt Walls was speaking following a number of headline grabbing crimes against elderly people, including a burglary which left Aughnacloy woman Pat Davidson (83) critically ill following a fall from a window.

"Last year there was a significant decrease in the numbers of all persons who were victims of burglary," he said.

"In terms of the proportion of older people in the population, they are under-represented in terms of burglary figures.

"There are clearly burglaries that target specific individuals, but my understanding of burglary is that burglars will take advantage of particular opportunities.

"If a burglar is walking down the street and sees 10 houses, maybe the one without the burglar alarm is the one they will target.

"Or if there is one that looks like it is empty, or if there is a window lying open.

"Lots of burglary is opportunitistic."

Belfast Telegraph

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