At an informal meeting in the 100 Club Park last Friday night, there was concern among those present about the increased rate of petty crime in the village.

The most shocking revelation? Not that so many people have been burglarized in the area, but that only four people in the entire town showed up to the meeting, none of whom are recent victims of theft.

Yet, each person there had the name of a supposed ne’er-do-well in town.

During the course of the meeting, the Winchester Press was given a total of eight names, all of whom have their own history of criminal activity and each is an infamous figure in Winchester.

The alleged crimes of these people range from petty theft to drug dealing, but nothing seems to be done about it, despite some of them reaching near notorious status.

So, what should be done? Should village residents come together with torches lit to run them out of town? Of course not, but would it be so bad to drag them out into the light?

It seems that a key factor, perhaps the biggest of them all, is the continuation of such crime is the lack of sufficient punishment. Many residents have simply chosen to live with it.

One noted individual has a track record of theft and drug distribution, but it appears to be of little concern when that person moves in next door. Another individual named has been known to collect others possessions and continue using them out in the open with zero repercussions.

Recently, the person who stole Little Free Library’s entire collection was discovered and, as far as we know, is not facing any punishment for their actions.

One of the solutions for the constant barrage of thefts in the area was to start a community watch program, and that may well be a good first step to scaring these people away.

Showing more of a presence on the streets after dark will go a long way to making these people think twice about walking onto someone’s property and taking what isn’t theirs.

If we start showing more unity within town, maybe we can all sleep better at night knowing our homes and properties are secure.