The PSNI have hit back at an MLA’s concerns about police station closures by saying that the number of burglaries is down seven per cent on the previous year.
South Down MLA Jim Wells was speaking out yesterday after police said three recent burglaries in south Down could be linked to the same masked gang.
Mr Wells said: “I think it is vital that older people are encouraged not to keep cash in their house. I know older people are often distrustful of banks, but holding on to large sums of cash only attracts that sort of element.
“The closure of six police stations in south Down does not help. It takes so much longer to arrive at rural incidents.”
The PSNI responded that burglaries are down 7pc, a total of 536 incidents, compared to last year.
“Nonetheless we fully understand that this type of crime is particularly traumatic for the individuals involved and a real concern for the community,” a PSNI spokesman said. “
“A prioritised investigative strategy is in place for aggravated burglaries and we would reassure the public that all lines of inquiry are being fully pursued.”
He asked people to report suspicious activity, including vehicle number plates.
Bill Carson from Age Sector Platform said: “Although the PSNI reassure us that these types of attacks are rare, we also know that fear of crime amongst older people here is very high.
“We can’t take the impact of this fear lightly as it has a significant impact on health and well-being of our older population.”
He added that “keeping large quantities of cash in your home is not recommended”.