Church-time burglaries

It can be risky to go to church on a Sunday evening, particularly if you live in Portadown. Last week it was reported in the Portadown Times that were more than 12 burglaries in the Killicomaine area of the town and many of the the burglaries took place over two Sunday nights while their elderly owners were out at church or visiting family members. Jewellery, much of it of sentimental value, and cash were taken and the intruders gained access by forcing back doors or windows. Many of the pensioners were very upset and terrified by the events, with one elderly woman “frightened to death” in case the culprits return.

Tommy Archer
Tommy Archer

One of the victims was 96 year old Tommy Archer, a long time member of the Salvation Army, who had been at his evening service when his home was burgled. Thankfully he survived the trauma and last night he was able to play his cornet as part of the Salvation Army Band at a Memorial Service in our church hall in Edenderry. Good man, Tommy!

Today I received a flyer from the Craigavon Community Safety Partnership warning about church-time burglaries and offering some advice to help keep our property safe. The basic advice is to lock all exterior doors and windows, to secure all garages and sheds, and to make our home look occupied even when we’re not at home. The leaflet recommends using a timer switch which can be used on lighting or a radio in a room which is normally occupied. That’s a really good idea which many people should take up if they are not doing so already. A timer switch would be a really good Christmas gift for the grandparent who has everything!

Portadown is a church-going town. Unlike some other places where evening services are small or non-existent, most of the evangelical churches in the town still have good attendances. It would be a shame if older folks particularly were discouraged from going to church on Sunday evenings by the malicious activity of these scoundrels. The leaflet calls on everyone to remain alert and to pass on any information about suspicious activity, whether it’s a person or a vehicle, to the police. By taking sensible precautions, and by watching out for each other, we can maintain one of the best traditions of our community…going to church on Sunday evening.