As the winter evenings draw in, most of us who live in cities, towns, or villages hardly change our routine. The curtains may be drawn earlier, heating turned on earlier to beat falling temperatures. Some of us prepare for an active hibernation.
The shorter days, however, mean far more for those living in isolated rural settings, especially those living alone or older couples living off the beaten track. For these people the darkness of winter can bring an atmosphere of threat.
Though crime gangs targeting vulnerable homes and farms operate the year round the longer winter nights makes their job, their raiding, easier. That these attacks on the weak and aged are sometimes violent makes them even more odious.
The closure of rural Garda stations created an impression that these attacks are easier to carry out but recent events show what effective policing can achieve. The gardaí have shown that, given the resources, they can be far more effective and maybe make the winter nights seem less threatening for isolated older people.