IT'S genuinely the stuff of nightmares – being roused in the middle of the night to discover a strange face staring back at you through your window.
The thought of this confronting scene is enough to send shivers down your spine, let alone living the horror in real life.
But what happens when a child is exposed to this terror?
That’s exactly what happened at the Moriarty family household in Kooringal this week.
What damage does an incident like this do to a fledgling mind? The family home is supposed to be a sanctuary from harm. When that notion is challenged or, worse, destroyed, how does that play out in a child’s head for the rest of their lives?
Residents along Andrews Avenue in Kooringal have been living in fear following a series of break-ins. But this issue is not just isolated to one street.
Wagga has a problem with this type of crime. It seems to come in fits and spurts, but how much of it is being reported by the media, and how much is being swept under the carpet to quell mass hysteria?
It wouldn’t take six degrees of separation to find someone who has been victim to a break-in or an attempted one.
Of course, we can all take steps to deter these leeches on society – we all know the days of being able to leave your car and house unlocked are over – but we need to take a look at why our fellow residents have stooped to making decent, hard-working members of the community fear for their safety and their possessions.
Clearly, these people are only concerned about the quick fix of a cash injection from selling stolen goods to continue living their chosen lifestyle.
But the solution is far from a quick fix.
The right-wingers among us would be happy to incarcerate the offenders and have them think about the consequences of their actions from a cold cell, while the left-leaners want to guide them through their troubles with rehabilitation programs.
We’re at a crossroads in a rapidly degrading societal structure. The fact is there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the sooner the powers that be realise this, the sooner we can move to rectify the increasingly worrisome issue.
Some criminals will never be rehabilitated – they need to be treated as such. Others will respond well to being nurtured in a better environment than how they might have been brought up.