There is so much that criminals do that's reprehensible, it can seem silly to dwell on the minutiae that's merely galling.

Yet the insult that's being heaped on too many Harford County residents to their injury of being robbed is maddening. It's not exactly new, but the relatively recent trend that's infuriating is the increase in the number of daytime burglaries.

When Harford County's decent, hard-working people go off to their jobs to earn an honest living, criminals are breaking into their homes and stealing from them. It's just as bad for those who have retired after working hard most of their lives. They're subject to the same violations when they leave their homes to conduct business or go out to lunch.

Thieves breaking into homes in broad daylight don't discriminate. As long as no one's home, the house is targeted. Not surprisingly, what they're taking is all the usual stuff: jewelry, cash, coins and prescription medications.

"These are things people can sell or trade for drugs," Lt. Richard Miller, of the Harford County Sheriff's Office, told members of the Whiteford Community Council last week. "These are things they can haul out of the house quickly."

Miller told the Whiteford group on Oct. 17 there had already been seven burglaries in the Darlington area during October. There's never a good time to have the sanctity of your home violated. And some folks might say they would rather no one is home when thieves break in to avoid a property crime from becoming a violent crime. Others might prefer to be home just so they could respond to a scofflaw's property crime with a little violence against the person in their home illegally. We understand people who think that way, but we certainly don't advocate that sort of reaction.

We do believe, however, that there's something more than just a little wrong with criminals preying on those who are out of the house making their livings legally. Criminals are criminals and should be treated as criminals. It would be somewhat comforting to know these bandits will be caught and, more importantly, treated as criminals, as in sent to prison for a while.