Riled residents arm themselves against crime

Thames residents are vowing to defend their homes with golf clubs if necessary following a late-night attack on an elderly woman.

The incident happened about 11pm on Sunday when the woman was closing her door, which she left open to air her house. The "cowardly attacker" punched her and fled the scene.

But local citizens have responded by saying they will arm themselves within their homes with items such as pepper spray and golf clubs to fend off any possible threat to safety and property.

Several messages have appeared on social networking site Facebook since Sunday flagging vigilante-style justice on persons found breaking into houses.

One was from resident Hinu Abraham, posted on the official Thames Police Facebook page, stating she had golf clubs at the ready for any intruder.

She wrote: "Can you please tell us how we can protect our property. This is getting beyond a joke. I will be the first to admit we have a golf club (3 iron to be precise) at hand in our home and believe me it will get used."

However, Sergeant Jared Thompson of Thames police has said, "this is not advisable as any weapon lying around the home has the potential to be used by an intruder against the homeowner".

"The presence of any weapon inherently causes the escalation of any violent confrontation.

"Although pepper spray is available to be purchased online, it is a restricted weapon and it is an offence to import or possess such weapon."

Another post from Cathie Williams read, "I will bash the little bastards if they hit my house or any of my family" while Kaye Manning wrote, "I do not and will not go to bed armed with a pencil and paper."

But lobby group Grey Power has warned against people, especially the elderly, taking matters into their own hands.

"If someone does break in when you are home, if you come across someone in the middle of robbing your home, keep calm and remember they are a lot younger, fitter and stronger than you are," Grey Power board member Violet McCowatt said. "You must never, ever try and fight back."

Senior Sergeant Graham Shields said burglary numbers throughout December and January were higher than the same time last year. Mr Shields said he and his Thames policing team had made a commitment to tackle the problem – even doing patrols in their own time.

"I'm no social expert but certainly I'm concerned about the number of burglaries happening in Thames and the police are doing long hours."

The best thing residents could do was keep windows and doors closed and locked and call 111 immediately if they were a victim or saw anything suspicious, Mr Shields said.

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Waikato Times