Monday, July 16, 2007

Daylight Robbery

Scene of crime
So there I was standing at the kitchen sink minding my own, when I spotted something unusual in the garden. Hang on, I thought, what's that cocky white male, wiry build, short dark hair, age late twenties, doing casually making off with the Tyler lawnmower?

Just as I was reaching for the Major's shotgun, he saw me, left the mower, and calmly climbed over the fence.

I phoned 999.

Despite everything I've written about the police, they arrived pretty quickly. Two cars, dogs, and even a helicopter overhead. A helicopter. Very impressive.

Despite that, as the polite and reassuring officer told me while taking my statement, there's virtually no chance of catching anyone. What's more, because the thief didn't actually escape with the loot, "it won't be recorded as a burglary"- just a burglary from a non-dwelling (I'm guessing that's code for "it won't enter our division's recorded crime stats").

You bet I'm fuming. WTF should I, a law-abiding taxpaying citizen, have to tolerate scumbag lowlife violating my property- cool as you please, in broad daylight- smashing open my shed, and attempting to nick my lawnmower? It was pure luck I was here and saw him.

Should I blame the police? Even though they did mount a full turn-out, and only left because a call came summoning them to another burglary in progress? Plus, they later sent a scenes of crime officer to take fingerprints.

Yes, at £17bn pa the police certainly have to take some of the blame: an overall detection rate around 20% just isn't good enough.

But fundamentally, we're back to the old problem.

There's no way someone as cocky as the guy in my garden was a casual first time thief: he looked and acted like a seasoned pro. My bet is that he has a long history of offending, and is one of the 100,000 persistent offenders who commit half our crime.

As we've blogged many times (eg see here), those 100,000 need to put inside and kept there. For ever. It would need another 80,000 jail places, costing us some £3bn pa. But £1bn of that could be found straightaway from shutting down the hopeless Probation Service.
It's all so obvious it's giving me a headache. Does anyone have any idea how we could get our wibbly politicos to do it?
Meanwhile I need to get our shed repaired. And I doubt the insurance is going to pay.
Update: The Major's just been round in a state of high excitement, offering to lend me his Mustang Energiser. Normally used for controlling rogue elephants (we get no end of them down our way), it's mains powered and delivers a hefty 5 joules of "energising" direct to the miscreant's soft tissues (see here for full details).
Update 2: According to a new survey carried out by Cornhill, "almost a third of UK householders keep items like golf clubs, cricket bats and heavy torches in case intruders enter their homes. It also reported that only one in five feels safe in their own homes at night." That's what happens when the law breaks down.

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