It used to be that Wagga was one of those regional cities you could easily walk to a friend’s house and not be fearful about the journey.
You could enjoy a night out and walk home without consequence.
Children playing outside after dark were not given solemn looks as though they were up to no good.
This could be said about most small towns in the Riverina but Wagga, a regional city, used to fit comfortably in that mould too.
But the recent crime spate has us wondering what happened to our freedom and safety?
Residents are becoming more fearful that once simple, meaningless actions or gestures will be misinterpreted to welcome an act of violence.
An unintentional look in a pub could end in a one-punch attack.
Leaving your car on the street seems to be an invitation for it to be burnt out.
And cracking a window so that the air conditioner works in this heat seems to be an invitation for break and enters.
These acts are increasing in their occurrence and severity and it has us wondering about the reason.
It is unfathomable what makes a person think they can harm another human being or their property, provoked or not.
There never seems to be a justifiable excuse for violence or vandalism.
People no longer feel safe in their own homes and are moving out of neighbourhoods they have lived in for decades out of fear their homes will be targeted next.
To think the actions of a few can affect the way so many people live their lives is horrifying.
Police resources are stretched already.
It’s not that they aren’t doing their job.
The officers we have do a fantastic job patrolling this city.
But when the crime rates grows as it has and the city isn’t allocated extra resources as a result, their hands really are tied.
It’s important, without resorting to vigilante justice, that we keep an eye on our neighbours and their property, especially if you know they aren’t capable of doing so themselves.