We had a bit of excitement last week, though perhaps ‘excitement’ isn’t the best word. A number of the houses on my street were targeted by thieves. Our neighbour on one side lost a mountain bike from a shed in their garden; the neighbour on the other side lost two from their garage, which had windows in the doors – the thieves smashed these, and then opened the door from the inside .
We know that the thieves were in our garden as well; our shed isn’t locked, and we discovered the door swinging open in the morning – plus, we found some bolt-cutters that had been stolen from next door, and discarded when they weren’t needed. Our own bikes are locked away in an inaccessible place, so we didn’t lose anything. I know that some other houses were raided as well; some also lost bikes, others were lucky like us.
The interesting point is that only mountain bikes were taken. That means firstly that they were stealing to order; bikes of other kinds (and, apparently, more valuable) were left behind. Secondly, it suggests that they knew which houses had mountain bikes – though, apparently, they weren’t always sure exactly where they would be kept. That points to a local being involved.
I’ve been expecting this ever since I came back from China. The noughties were a prosperous and peaceful decade, and there was almost no crime in my area. Many people who have moved in during that period, though, don’t realize that during the last recession there were a lot of break-ins here, because we’re perceived as an affluent area – which, these days, is true. (Sadly, we are not as affluent as many as our neighbours! We’ve just been here a long time, and the area gentrified around us…).
Anyway, ever since the crash, and the subsequent flat-lining of the economy, it has been evident to those with eyes that hard times would be back. Here in Wales, the economy is hugely dependent on government spending, so the policies of austerity will inevitably cut deep, and cut hard. A lot of people are going to be desperate.
And that means that the break-ins and burglaries will return. It’s inevitable. Already, there have been car thefts; metal drain covers have vanished overnight… It’s coming.
So, lessons are to be learned. We’ve had a near-miss. I’ve been working to cut off obvious ways into our garden. I’ve been buying motion-sensitive lights and alarms to put in strategic locations. I’ll be setting up a network of day/night capable wifi webcams to monitor various angles; they’ll be triggered by motion, and upload what they see to a private YouTube channel… Hopefully, this will all build up the deterrents, and incline people not to try to get into the house itself.
And in case they should fail… well, that thought is undoubtedly an incentive to get back into my martial arts training.
Sorry to go all Sarah Connor on you – but I reckon a storm is coming, and we just heard the first peal of thunder.
Image credits: Storm Clouds by Andrea_44 on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.