Home intrusion an unsettling story
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Sep 19, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

Home intrusion an unsettling story

Listowel Banner

Listowel Banner editorial

Readers will recall the story of Dean Ballantyne and Barb and Taylor Palmer from the front page of last week’s Listowel Banner. The local family members were the victims of a home intrusion in the very early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 8.

The Banner thanks the family for sharing their experience with our staff, and the community at large. Incidents like this aren’t always easy to think about, not to mention talk about it. Thanks to the family’s obliging nature, The Banner was the first to break a story of great import to our readers.

Imagine – difficult as it may be – waking from a sound slumber in what is presumably the safety of one’s own home. A stranger lurks there, a flashlight in hand, seeking money, valuables, who knows what.

There have been several theories — troublemaking youths. Meth-heads in search of items they can cash in for drug money. We’ve even heard reports, in other centres so far, of folks becoming so intoxicated, they wander into the wrong homes. The motive in this instance isn’t clear. It seems this intruder wasn’t armed and didn’t mean the family any harm. He became scared and fled when Ballantyne awoke.

Things could have been a lot worse. But the family is still feeling the emotional aftermath of this home intrusion and won’t likely forget about it anytime soon.

Last year, StatsCan stated that  “police-reported residential robberies, often referred to as home invasions, increased 38 per cent between 1999 and 2005. Since then, they have been relatively stable. The vast majority of robberies were committed by young men. In 2008, almost nine in 10 of those accused of robbery were male and nearly two-thirds were between the ages of 12 and 24 . . . In 2008, police reported 2,700 home invasions — robberies that occurred in a private residence. Home invasions are committed by strangers less often than other types of robberies. In 2008, 63 per cent of home invasions were committed by a stranger compared with 90 per cent of other types of robbery. Just over one-quarter of home invasions were committed by acquaintances, which include criminal relationships.”

Stories and statistics such as this aren’t meant to drive panic or fear, they are simply meant to inform. It would be more wrong to sweep a story like this under the carpet instead of informing the public.

North Perth is by-and-large a safe community. There are watchful, protective neighbours, competent, hard-working police officers and a general sense of good and decency within the vast majority of citizens. It is these citizens that can help play a part in keeping North Perth the safe, enjoyable community it is, and in keeping incidents like this one at bay. Lock your doors. Report suspicious activity, including people, vehicles or behaviour, to police. And if you have information on this or any other crime, contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.

It will never do to allow crime to push us back with fear. Instead we must push forward against it to protect a much-loved and safe community.

- S.D.

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