THE Coledale community has turned its anger at the apparent lawlessness in their suburb towards the justice system, with residents claiming courts are too soft on offenders.
More than 76 per cent of respondents to a Northern Daily Leader poll conducted on its website yesterday called for courts to impose tougher sanctions on people convicted of crimes.
In contrast, 22 per cent of those who completed the survey thought a greater police presence would curb violence and anti-social behaviour, while just 2 per cent regarded more funding for community-building projects to be the answer.
The survey came after a front-page story in The Leader yesterday, which detailed the extreme lengths a grandfather was taking to protect his home and family, once again highlighted problems with crime in Coledale.
The story prompted an elderly man, who did not wish to be named out of fear of reprisals, to come forward and detail some of his experiences of living in the area and express his frustration at the justice system.
He said that last year he was forced to use a knife to fight off a knife-wielding assailant who had broken into his home through a window.
The man said it was to the residents’ eternal frustration that offenders caught by the police would return to
the community and commit the same crimes, seemingly without fear of the potential repercussions.
“It’s the courts that are the problem,” he said.
“It’s not the police, the police can’t do anything.
“The police are just as frustrated because nothing happens when they arrest them.
“And it’s the young ones that are the trouble. They should be put in juvenile detention, not just getting a slap on the wrist.
“Although teenagers don’t listen to their parents, they do copy.
“Consequently, if the parents are anti-social, what do you expect the children to be like?”
These sentiments have been echoed across The Leader’s website and Facebook pages, with many fed up with what they see as inadequate court-imposed penalties.
Jane Robertson posted that “If the justice system were doing their job, this wouldn’t be such a big problem”, while Guy Harrington said: “The courts don’t seem to care that they release the unwanted back on the streets with little more than a slap on the wrist”.