I was browsing through the Whitby Shores Community Forum today and came across a thread about crime and car break-ins on the sub-division (estate).
Having lived in Oxford when Blackbird Leys was the joy-riding capital of Europe, I was prepared for the worst…I feared for the safety of our recently acquired and much-loved automobile. However, it seems my fears were unfounded, as the activities that have taken place in my neighbourhood appear to be the work of opportunistic youth and not some malevolent criminal mastermind. Plus, they are nothing new, the same thing was occurring a couple of years ago.
Certain individuals have trawled the neighbourhood (through roads only, from what I can tell) and trying cars to see if they are unlocked. Those that were, have been divested of any loose change, but GPS’s and other items have been left untouched. As have the vehicles themselves.
Many people around here leave their cars unlocked and some actually leave their purses/wallets inside.
There has been word of a few break-ins in the local area through garage doors, where intruders have accessed the main house through an unlocked interior garage door. These are separate incidents and are in no way related to the car thefts. In these cases, property has been stolen from the houses while the occupants slept and the cars used as getaway vehicles.
Relaxed attitude to security
All these incidents do serve to highlight the very relaxed attitude to security here. When we first moved into our rented house, we were initially uncomfortable with the overall flimsiness of the lock on the front door. It wouldn’t make a decent-sized guy break a sweat to bust through it. Back in the UK, where “an Englishman’s home is his castle” according to law set down by Sir Edward Coke in The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628, everyone’s front door is a virtual drawbridge and portcullis – heavy, locked, bolted, mortised to the max! And good old Nick Ross would still have us feeling anxious and besieged after “Crimewatch“, despite his exhortations to “sleep well, don’t have nightmares”.
To leave a car unlocked in the UK would be unimaginable – vehicles are fitted with alarms, tracking devices, immobilisers and security systems and still the 12 year-old b******s succeed in breaking into them and driving off!
It is lovely to live in a place where the fear factor is so low, but it is a constant source of amazement to me that people expect others to exhibit the same moral values as themselves. I was brought up to believe that if you put temptation in someones way, it’s as good as offering it to them on a plate. As a child, I learned that lesson the hard way after our family car was broken into when I left a plastic bag on the back seat. It only contained my colouring book and pencils but was enough incentive for a thief to break in.
So you can understand why I find it slightly amusing to see signs in car parks reminding people to lock their cars and remove any valuables. I guess anticipating crime isn’t second nature here…