Few offences in the criminal catalogue are more distasteful than those involving the elderly.
For a city of its size, incidents of this nature in Derry are still relatively rare - although there have been some disturbing indications that they are on the increase.
Some of the more violent attacks are particularly disgusting acts of extreme cowardice which not so long ago would have beggared belief.
Unfortunately, however, we now live in an age and a country where the elderly are seen by thugs as easy targets.
Many senior citizens who live on their own are particularly vulnerable to sudden attacks from violent and opportunistic criminals.
A real cause for concern is the number of incidents in which elderly people are robbed by con men.
In recent years, bogus callers masquerading as workers from reputable organisations have targeted senior citizens across the region.
In most cases, the bogus callers are able to trick their way into the house before making off with the householders’ money.
Not so long ago, an elderly lady was robbed when two men, claiming to be from a housing organisation, made their way into her home before one man distracted the woman while another stole her purse.
When offenders are convicted of these offences, it is important that they should receive heavy sentences.
Anyone who sets out to target the elderly must expect that, when caught, they will be going to jail for a very long time.
We must all hope that those behind such cowardly attacks will be arrested sooner rather than later.
Our senior citizens are entitled to receive the maximum protection from the courts.