Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Onus on all of us to battle the burglars

Editor's Viewpoint

Once again there are shocking headlines about a home-owner being subjected to a terrifying ordeal at the hands of a burglar.

The incident took place on Saturday night when a woman with severe physical disabilities was confronted by an intruder in the bedroom of her home in Dungannon.

He ransacked the house before escaping with money and the victim's mobile phone.

Mercifully, she was unharmed physically, but we can only speculate at how terrifying the ordeal must have been for her.

The police branded the attacker as "despicable", and this might seem an inadequate description. But are there any words which can describe adequately the fear and horror the disabled woman experienced?

Even in cases where the victim is not physically harmed, there are two further worrying and aggravating factors. The perpetrators breach the sanctity of an individual's home, and there is often a gross, indeed deeply disturbing, disparity between the age of the victim and that of the attacker.

Many burglaries are described as "cowardly", but it is hard to imagine one more cowardly than this latest incident, targeting a disabled woman.

One of the keys to combating this vile behaviour lies, as it does so often, with the police and the community at large.

Chief Constable George Hamilton must be given all the resources he needs, basically more officers on the ground ­- but we all have our part to play.

Burglars don't come from Mars. Someone, somewhere, knows who is behind these attacks, and it is their duty to pass on information to the police or Crimestoppers.

At the weekend three houses in Crossmaglen and one in Newry were targeted by burglars, and three men were seen acting suspiciously at a house in Camlough before being disturbed and fleeing.

This kind of behaviour must be tackled and everything done to stamp it out.

There is a danger that many of us think such crime is inevitable, and that the police can do very little. However, if such an attack took place in your home, or on your relative, what would you think about it?

This kind of thing is not somebody else's business. It is something which should worry us all and galvanise us into action to prevent such behaviour.

Anything that any of us can do, either by improving our own security or being observant about unusual behaviour around us, can only help in the war against crime.

Belfast Telegraph

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