A NEW initiative along the lines of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme is being considered by community workers in the Aghyaran and Killeter areas.
With local people becoming increasingly concerned by both the number and nature of robberies in the locality, there is now a demand for urgent action to help combat the problem.
Local men, Eamon Dolan and Gordon Speer are part of the Killeter Development Trust. They say that what’s been happening is ‘extremely and increasingly alarming for local people.’
“We just can’t figure out why these burglaries are happening in Aghyaran on such a regular basis at the moment. There’s always been one-off robberies on occasion, but the number that have been taking place recently is different,” Mr Speer said.
“It’s got to the stage now where people don’t want to leave their houses. They fear that if they come back they’ll find their homes ransacked.”
Eamon Dolan believes that the geographical nature of Aghyaran and its proximity to the border may be factors in the number of burglaries taking place.
“This is a very scattered locality, and the houses that seem to be targeted are maybe half a mile away from the nearest property,” he said.
“You get the impression that there’s scouting going on as well because whoever is doing this seems to know when people have left their homes. That’s when they strike.
“What has really brought this home to me is that a few pensioners in the past few days have asked me about how they’d go about getting an alarm system into their home.
“These are people who wouldn’t have thought about alarms before. It’s terrible that they live their whole lives in a locality and now have to start thinking about the security of their home.
“They feel as if there’s nobody doing anything for them and it’s not just that this is happening at night because it’s going on during the day as well. But for all the burglaries here this past number of years, nobody has ever been prosecuted.”
Both men agreed that the lack of mobile phone coverage and broadband is adding to the problem and ultimately preventing an effective response.
“We need to start trying to address this problem and hopefully that in itself will also deter those who are trying to targeted Killeter and Aghyaran,” Mr Speer continued.
“It’s a case of people becoming more vigilant.
“They don’t expect something like this to happen and they’re now realising this is a very serious problem. A lot of people out there are feeling pretty vulnerable.”