Thousands of crimes against the elderly and under 18s have been reported in Mid and East Antrim in recent years, according to new figures.
The statistics, obtained from the PSNI by DUP East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons, show that crime against the under 18s in the Mid and East Antrim parliamentary constituency has been increasing for the past five years, reaching a high of 497 in 2015/16.
In total, 2009 crimes against under 18s were reported over the five-year period.
Meanwhile, crime against the over-65s has been on the increase since 2012/13, with 286 crimes committed against this age group in 2015/16.
Since 2011/12, a total of 1,525 crimes against the over 65s have been reported in the Mid and East Antrim parliamentary district.
Mr Lyons described the increases as “concerning” and said that the level of crime against the most vulnerable in our society remains at an “unacceptable level.”
“We have no reason to suspect that crime is any higher here than in other areas, but I think people will be shocked to hear that there are so many crimes commtted,” he stated.
“They are the two most vulnerable groups in society, the youngest and oldest, and it is a cause of concern if people are targeting them in any way.
“There has been a significant increase.
“We can’t tell if there has been an increase in the reporting of crime and the message needs to go out that we need to report all crime so the police can tackle it.”
Mr Lyons called for action to combat crime.
“I think that more needs to be done to protect these two groups, such as education on how to make themselfes safer,” he said.
“Crime is still relatively low, it’s relatively rare to be a victim of crime, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it.”
Mr Lyons said that he and fellow DUP MLAs and councillors would be meeting with police to discuss their concerns.