We always think we’re secure … until, well, we realise we’re not.
The flats where I live have giant electronic gates that can only be opened with a key fob. I came home on Sunday evening to find that my key fob wasn’t opening the gate, and just quietly assumed that the battery in the fob was dying.
I’m kind of kicking myself for not checking the gate situation sooner.
I parked around the back of my flat instead, went inside, and got myself into bed. The next morning was the first reason I had to venture out into the car park – I needed to empty my bin, and noticed that the front door of my neighbours flat was wide open, big hole in the window. Further investigation revealed that someone had forced open the electric box for the gates, and disconnected the battery – obviously in the hope that a lack of power would cause the gates to open.
Well, as a result of this, my bank holiday monday was spent dealing with the police, my landlady, my other neighbours who had their cars stuck on the car park, and my own feelings of unease.
After the neighbours who were broken into got home in the early evening of that day, it turned out that not much had been stolen. A TV and a custom tablet. The thief had managed to break the TV, and left components of it behind. The tablet turned up on eBay the next day, but the police claimed they could do nothing, as my neighbours didn’t have the serial number. For their tablet with a custom operating system on it. They also claimed that it would take them a month to get the paper work together. So it was too much hassle to bother with.
There is something very wrong with a system that thinks it is too much bother to follow a solid lead to get someones property back. Granted, it’s not so much about the stolen property in this case – it’s about the violation of what is supposed to be a place of comfort – a home. For that alone, I really wish that burglars were pursued with more prejudice.
I’ve since been involved in trying to get a neighbourhood watch scheme set up for our flats, and I’ve installed motion sensors in my home. Although I wasn’t burgled, I can’t help but think that the thief has now scouted out the ground floor flats. I live alone – so I at least want some warning if someone breaks in during the night so I can barricade myself somewhere. I know that my other neighbours have done similar.
The frustrating thing is that no matter what kind of measures are taken, if someone is determined to break into somewhere to take what is not theirs (instead of getting off their arse and getting a job like the rest of us) – they’re going to find a way. That’s pretty depressing.
Burglary should be taken a lot more seriously than it is. It’s not the cost of repairs, or even the items, as much as it is the loss of a sense of security. Personally, I think that the punishment for this sort of crime should be much higher, and should take that loss into account more than it does now. It’s a very sad fact of life that all too often, the scum who do things like this don’t even get caught – and when they do, the sentence seems all to often to be completely laughable.
About the only good thing to come of this is that I’ve probably talked more to my neighbours over this week than I have in almost 4 years of living here. Fostering a community spirit in order to look out for each other isn’t a bad thing – I just wish we could have done it sooner.