what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Property, theft and municipal strategies


Rural crime, we are told by the radio, has been increasing so much recently that new policing methods are being introduced. 
Curious to know what this meant for our area (one of the local shops suffered a break-in a couple of weekends ago), we tried today (at 16.00) to call in at the local police station (the neighbouring village some 20 minutes drive away) – only to be met by a closed door and 3 telephone numbers. 
In one sense, “neighbourhood watch” is old hat here as everyone can (and does) see what is going on elsewhere (that includes my middle of the night pees!!)
Seeing is, however, one thing – the issue for crime detection and prevention is getting people willing and able to summon help; and for that help to arrive expeditiously. Romanians are exhorted in national campaigns to use the 955 national number (which connects to Bucharest) - but I suspect most follow the advice on the police door and use their local connections. And how quick is the response?
Of course it is only nouvelles arrivees such as me who are vulnerable – not the poor locals - vulnerable, that is, for the fantasising that goes on about the wealth of foreigners. Perhaps the best protection would be a few articles and media episodes about the low-income (or possession) profile of most ex-pats here. Why else would foreigners buy property here - except that they don't have the means to buy elsewhere? A Bulgarian magazine did a good article on the profile of the Brits who bought there big-time a few years back -with many being unable to adjust to the new life and returning home.
It is the Romanians with the large, ugly villas who have the cars, white goods and possessions the thieves want.
Yesterday we changed the 2 kitchen windows – replacing the rather shoddy double-glazing job with state of the art triple Thermopan. I was horrified with how quickly the guys dismantled each window. It took them less than 5 minutes to prise out the frame and hop inside!! Fortunately the new system we installed makes it impossible for such entry. Anyone trying will be blasted to kingdom come!! Other, simpler, barriers have also been created against those wishing to steal the black and white photographs I treasure of my childhood!

If local villagers are not worried about break-ins, they should at least be concerned about water; and here the municipality could and should be doing more about water conservation. Since water meters were installed a year or so ago, I suspect the ruling assumption is that the price signal is enough to alter behaviour. But people still need to know the options - and to be encouraged to use water responsibly. I know how wasteful I was until I realised how little water I actually needed for cleaning my teeth and washing....  

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