Burglary in the UK
Clive Coleman writes in Times Online - Newspaper Edition about a real burglary and what happens in the UK.
I ALMOST tackled a burglar this week. Well, he wasn’t actually burgling my house, he was burgling my holidaying neighbour’s house four doors down. ...It started with a call, late at night from my neighbour’s alarm company, asking me to meet the police outside his house. After five minutes .. I recovered his front-door keys, and proceeded bravely down the road, with my significantly taller wife beside me. Outside we found no police, so decided to go in. I’d just put the key in the lock when I saw a flashlight upstairs and a figure run into a bedroom....We decided to rush back home, dial 999, tell the police that there was an intruder in the house, “right there, right now”. We returned to the street, alerted several neighbours, and waited a safe distance from the house. And we waited. We waited for about half an hour, breaking our vigil only to call the police once again. After around 40 minutes, we heard the sound of breaking glass from the house and saw a hooded figure emerge with what looked like a computer box in a bag.
All five of us looked around anxiously for the police car...
Ten minutes or so later the police arrived. No real explanation for the delay, but once I’d let them in it triggered six police man-hours of checking the premises, calling out two SOCOs (scene of crimes officers) who dusted for prints around the broken rear window, and actually found plenty. Unfortunately they were all glove prints; damn clever burglar — no wonder he wanted the computer.
It was all rather depressing. If the police can’t catch a burglar who stays in a house for 40 minutes under observation, it’s pretty bad. If five middle-class neighbours can’t confront a burglar, that’s pretty weedy too. Seven years ago I was caught up in a bank robbery... on that occasion, I did intervene. I don’t know why, but I did. This time and a spate of knife crimes later, I didn’t, and I feel bad. If I and my neighbours are any kind of barometer, a corrosive fear of crime is certainly rising.
Well that is London for you - pathetic all round. Try that in Texas.