The Malta Independent 27 May 2024, Monday
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TMID Editorial: Feeling safe in one’s home

Monday, 22 April 2024, 14:06 Last update: about 2 months ago

In a scathing statement shared on its official social media page, the Swieqi local council said that “all the residents of Swieqi are very worried about the current situation where there are a number of suspicious individuals roaming around our streets, taking photos of doors and windows of residences, and entering private gardens and drive-ins.”

The statement came a day after police arrested three people who were seen taking photos of a villa in the locality.  From police investigations, including the use of CCTV footage, it resulted that the same three people had entered the property and, although they had not stolen anything, they were seen milling about until they left in a car.

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“This does not appear to be an isolated case, because these individuals have been seen more than once visiting various streets observing the daily movements of our residents. This is apart from the fact that the Local Council was informed of break-ins in private residences in recent weeks,” the local council said.

“As a Council we are asking Central Government to give the disciplined forces the much-needed resources, with immediate effect, so that the security of residents will be assured. It is not acceptable that our residents live in fear for their safety in their own homes,” it concluded.

The council is right in the sense that it is absolutely not acceptable that people are now living in fear for their safety inside the walls of their own homes.  Long gone are the days of old Malta, where one could leave their key in the door and not be worried of the repercussions.

Such a statement is not new, although the bluntness and the fact that it has come directly from a local council increases its impact.  Different areas of Malta have been subject to newer, more organised means of crime – as this appears to be – in the past, although they have largely centred on pickpocketing rather than house burglaries.

It signals a need to increase police presence in areas which are being affected by such organised crime. The advent of community policing, now spread to every locality on the island, has no doubt been positive but there are certain areas where a step further in order to ensure the safety of residents is clearly required.

Such areas should be identified by the local councils themselves – as the Swieqi one has done – and there should be clear communication channels between them and enforcement agencies. 

Ultimately if a person cannot go into their homes and feel fully safe and serene within those four walls, then something very wrong is happening and is not being fixed.  This is one of the cornerstones of the quality of life that the country’s political forces have been speaking about, and it is something which requires swift action and swift solutions.

 

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