Multiple responses needed to fight crime

Irrespective of crime figures it is hard not to believe that today’s criminals have become more violent than their predecessors and that they disregard life — anyone’s— in a way that earlier generations did not.

This perception is fuelled by what seems a conveyor belt of gangland murders and shootings, some involving gunmen little more than teenagers.

That perception was unfortunately strengthened by Thursday night’s petrol bomb attack on a house in Waterford where three children suffered serious but, thankfully, non-life threatening burns. One child needed skin grafts.

A local crime gang has been implicated in the cowardly attack, a situation echoed across many towns and cities but nonetheless terrifying for all that.

There can hardly be a dilemma more difficult for a family than to feel under attack in their home. That situation requires bravery and determination not many of us can be certain we would have in the same situation. As has been shown determined criminals can make normal life impossible for those who stand up to them irrespective of what protection the State might offer. Several important court cases have had to be abandoned because witnesses were intimidated. Though there must be firm response it must be acknowledged that this kind of anti-social behaviour and the absence of opportunity go hand-in-hand. As is so often the case poverty is the driving force behind crime.


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