McMullen: Check locks, windows before the thieves do
“If you want to eat —
you’ve got to earn a bob!
Is it such a humiliation
For a robber to perform an honest job?”
— “Reviewing the Situation,”
There has been a rash of property theft over the past few months and the situation shows no signs of improvement. It seems that each collection of police reports comes with at least one reported theft — sometimes it’s from a car and sometimes it’s from a building but the bottom line is that lowlifes are helping themselves to our possessions pretty frequently.
They roam our streets, trying every door handle on every car and hoping that they’ve found one that has been inadvertently left unlocked. And since they’ve got so many cars to shop they’re bound, statistically, to find a couple that fit that bill on any given night.
They’ll take your spare change and your compact discs and your stereo if they can get it out without too much trouble. I’m always surprised to hear that anyone in this day and age would bother to steal CDs — they can’t get much for them these days and at some point the small bit of money they’re getting for them can’t be worth the effort/space in their stealing car.
They got into a family member’s car and stole an MP3 player but chose not to take the charging cord that was attached to it. It doesn’t seem like they’re going to be able to enjoy it for long.
And while they’re casing our cars they’re also taking note of which cars have been gone for a while, and which houses seem to be empty for extended periods of time. They’re determining if the bedroom(s) are far away enough from the easiest broken barriers between them and the house.
Advances in the technology of criminal justice are going to make it harder and harder for these sorts of people to get away with it in the future, but right now too many of them successfully elude the authorities — they’re becoming a little bolder with each haul.
And that boldness leads to carelessness and that allows us to occasionally catch some of them. Why, they just pop in and out of the revolving door jail! Surely we need to brand them, or start cutting off their limbs like they do in, you know, wherever. The property crime level in wherever is down, so it must work!
Yes, there are some rare cases in other parts of the world of people who face amputation when they get caught stealing. It has happened, but it’s not nearly as common as some people seem to think.
Sure, if we removed the hand of anyone we successfully prosecuted for theft it might dissuade a few of the others. We could hang them from the power lines, with a crudely drawn skull and crossbones and some sort of anti-thief message on a piece of cardboard.
But that’s pretty darn barbaric and I couldn’t in good conscience support it even if it were a perfect deterrent.
We need to think about what we can do on an individual level and the top thing we should do is stop giving them all these opportunities to steal our things. We’ve got to make sure our cars are locked and that our windows are all the way up. Make sure twice, or three times, or however many it takes. An unlocked car is a sitting duck, especially in densely populated urban areas. And I can promise you that they will probably hit you if your front-seat valuables are there for the taking.
Make sure your doors are locked, too. An unlocked door is an open door for all intents and purposes and they’re not afraid to poke their nose in and find out just how heavy your sleep is.
Be more aware of what’s going on outside and inside your home. Invest in a motion light or two and actually investigate the situation a little bit when they go off.
Many of us are targets because we are easy targets: I’m not saying you should gun down the next shadow you see coming around the corner but you should maintain a better view of that corner.
But mostly, stop stealing our stuff! If you can root through a dashboard or bend in a screen window you could probably at least apply those manual labor skills to a real job. It would be significantly less stressful, dangerous and illegal.
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