Media appeals help cut crime
JUST over a year ago, a man went on to the streets of Ilkeston looking for a woman to rape. That man, Anthony Dealey, found his victim at 3.40 in the morning as she walked home.
Dealey forced her to the floor, raped her, throttled her and left her for dead after stealing from her handbag.
The effects of this attack will never leave his victim who police praised for her part in helping to catch the man who treated her so cruelly.
Despite everything, the woman was able to provide an account and a description which helped police to put together their media appeals to catch the rapist.
And the detective in charge of the case, Detective Superintendent Gareth Meadows said those appeals played a key part in bring Dealey to justice.
Mr Meadows said that the response was overwhelming and it was the public that led them to the culprit.
This is, thankfully, unsurprising. Ilkeston is a proud town and an attack like this tarnishes its name and its people do not want someone like Dealey darkening their streets.
It is in serious cases like this that the relationship between the officers and those that they police is at its strongest.
When there is no clear CCTV, detection is more difficult and the detectives rely on assistance from the public to assist them in finding the criminals they chase.
When a vulnerable person has been attacked and left for dead in a completely random and unprovoked attack, this spurs the public will to get involved and help is forthcoming.
Sometimes it can slow down an investigation if too much information comes forward as it all has to be evaluated and that takes more time. But that, of course, is a good problem to have as there is at least a chance that some of the tip-offs will bear fruit like the information in this case.
What this case also shows is that well-prepared media appeals also work.
We in the media are happy to be used in this way as part of our contribution to making our streets safer.
In fact, we would like to see more.