Published Monday, 12 November 2012
Joanne's house has been vandalised hundreds of times. (© UTV)
Joanne O'Toole, a mother of five, who lives in the Falls area has been targeted by vandals hundreds of times.
She said that being in the house each night was like going through "hell and back".
"Just having to have your doors locked up.. the gate's lying at the back where it was booted in at the weekend," she told UTV.
The worst episode was when her teenage son sustained severe burns when the family's motorbike was set on fire.
"I was traumatised, the wee boy was traumatised, he was in the hospital for two weeks with his feet burnt and then he ended up in a wheelchair. He still has problems with his feet now at the minute.
She continued: "My daughter was lying in bed there two weeks ago, and they put a squib through her bedroom. It burnt right through to her quilt. Windows been egged, windows been smashed, walls at the front knocked down, everything. It's atrocious."
Sitting with no windows, in the darkness in your own kitchen..it's like being in prison.
Joanne has reported every incident to police but she says they can't do anything to stop further incidents from happening.
Joanne explains that the culprits disperse when police arrive but aren't dissuaded for long.
"They (police) come in, they drive round, they move them on but they're back as soon as they leave."
A group calling themselves the 'Divis Hoods' are known to people in the area for being responsible for anti-social behavior.
Many people in the area are too afraid to report incidents, but there has been support for the police's latest drive to tackle the problem.
"Police will be there seven days a week, from now until the end of January. It's a combined effort of all the officers we have within west Belfast in order to try and address the concerns of the local residents," west Belfast commander Emma Bond said.
Robert McClenaghan, from the Falls Residents' Association encouraged those with concerns to voice them.
"If people in the area don't feel confident to use the PSNI, then use us, use the Residents' Association, and we'll forward the information through the appropriate channels, because we have to take these people off the street," he said.
But for Joanne, she feels she can no longer stay in the area after suffering a long period of intimidation.
"Unbearable to live here. Unbearable," she said. "I cannot wait to the day I move out of here.
"It's my children I'm worried about. Nobody else. I'm a widow, I lost my husband seven years ago and I'm rearing five kids in this house."
© UTV News