Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

September 5, 2013

Robbery an unfortunate wake-up call

An expectation of safety and carefree comfort has long existed in Andover. Most people don’t think twice about walking around alone in town, especially in areas that aren’t overly secluded.

That’s why the report last week of a young woman being robbed at gunpoint downtown by two masked men as she walked home from work is at the very least unnerving.

everyone who lives and comes here feels safe and protected.

The suspects, believed to be between the ages of 17 and 23, approached the 19-year-old woman from behind, then fled on foot with her purse. Both were carrying guns, with hoods over their heads and handkerchiefs covering their faces, the victim reported. They remained at-large early this week as police continued their investigation.

The fact that it wasn’t exceptionally late — around 9:30 p.m. — and the woman was a couple blocks from the heart of downtown when the robbery occurred is especially troubling.

Police assure that, despite the incident, the streets downtown are still safe. Nonetheless, they have stepped up patrols.

While the victim was not harmed, the incident has put at least some downtown workers on edge.

“Everyone is like, ‘How could this happen in Andover?’” Rick Pruneau, owner of Park Street Pub located a couple blocks from the site of the robbery, says of his female employees.

But the reality is, it can.

There’s no denying there seems to be a rise in reported drug activity in Andover in recent times. While there is no evidence the two are connected, it does beg the question: If one problem exists, does another follow?

While a single incident is not sufficient cause for panic, the robbery should raise some level of concern. Residents and visitors alike would be wise in becoming more aware of their surroundings and perhaps buddy up on walks after dark.

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