Friday, January 04, 2008

From Bloggery to Burglary

So I got home last night and found I'd been burgled. This had only happened to me once before in 30-plus years of householding, so I'm still below the average, no doubt. As burglaries go, this one wasn't too bad - not too much mess, and they missed the important stuff - but they did force a stable door to get in, and they took my laptop and the digital camera I'd been given for Christmas (that'll teach me to dabble with new-fangled technology). The TV, DVD and video they left, as being way below spec for their purposes. The cops did the usual thing - issued a number for the insurance claim, turned over and went back to sleep -'forensics', for what it's worth, will maybe turn up today, puff a little dust around and shrug their shoulders. Meanwhile, I have a modest proposal: A gun in every house and free rein to use it on all intruders. That, I think, would put a stop to burglary.


  1. That would stop burglary dead in its tracks, so to speak, and save the police for the really important work of punishing race and hate crimes and persecuting motorists.

  2. So sorry to hear this. I was burgled once and while they didn't do too much harm, my god I felt crap and nuclear at the same time. And it's very time-consuming too with the cops, insurance folks, etc. And all for what? £25 round the corner for some crack and supermarket lager most likely. Lions (house-trained, natch) are the preferred deterrent here. The evidence all gets eaten, right down to the tip of the last chav's baseball cap. Very convenient.

  3. Hi Nige,

    What an ordeal.

    I've never been burgled as such. During the time my second wife and I were divorcing, she called me up and said she was coming over with her mother, brother and father on such and so day to take all her belongings. I decided not to be in the house for this operation. So I put fresh coffee and mugs out on the counter and wished them a good day with a note signed with love. Needless to say, I was wiped out, her mother convincing her that everything ought to be hers. But, like I say, it was my second divorce, so that didn't bother me. In fact, it was kind of humorous to still be living in a house that I had been essentially moved out of, pretty much all but for a coffee maker. What bothered me was the kids wouild be coming over to empty rooms.


  4. Sorry about that, Nige. i was burgled once and felt vaguely violated, as i'm a pretty private Ted Bundy kind of person, so not keen on a chav poking through my serial killer's dungeon.

    In my case i left a 1st floor window open thinking it safe. Luckily i'd left a stack of CDs (ones i was bored of) by the window so they just nabbed those & left, probably in & out in 15 seconds at most, little risk to them. But it did mean they missed my passport, camera, wallet, watch, etc.

    What's galling is that, as Mark says, your quite expensive-to-buy goods probably bought them, at most, a bit of crack.

  5. I was burgled once, not very competently. They kicked through a security door in the flat but couldn't make a hole big enough to get much out. The scene was attended by a very nice but not conspicuously talented policewoman who sympathised and shook her head a lot. I remember her saying 'what I don't understand is why they have to make such a mess of the place while they are about it' which was a bit embarrassing because they hadn't. My then girlfrined and I exchanged a furtive glance and kept quiet.

  6. STATE OF THE NATION: January 2008!

    Britain has “the best (sic) burglars in Europe,” according to a study by the European Union, which also finds that the country is the continent's most crime-ridden - a rate surpassed only by Ireland. Glasgow’s streets run red with knifings and Scotland now tops the list of "civilised" nations for crimes against the person. Three alleged rapists are among more than 600 children under the age of 10 who have been charged with serious offences in Scotland in 2006. More than 20 children and teenagers are being treated in hospital every day for alcohol-related disorders, including mental disorders.

    The majority of muggers are aged between 11 & 18!

    Britain now has 4.2 public CCTV cameras, or one for every 14 people, and 8,000 automatic number-plate recognition devices. Which is to say that British people are more spied upon than any other population in the free world. Nevertheless, the number of those under 18 found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon rose by 82%, from 648 in 1997 to 1,181 in 2004. Other indications of the increase in sociopathic behaviour can be seen at the most extreme end of “psycho” activities known as stalking. In 2004 more than 150,000 cases of harassment were reported to the police nationwide. A 26% increase on the previous year.

    One in five adults in Britain is "functionally illiterate"!

    By contradistinction, you will find it reassuring to know that in the 12 months to March last year, police recorded only 89,200 robberies, compared to 90,700 in 2004-05. This, regrettably, included a 10% increase in muggings at gunpoint. Teenagers are stabbed to death at a rate of two every month. Feral packs of them roam the inner cities. Middle aged men are simply beaten to death by gangs of youth ( a rate of four per annum). To me, the highlight of this national orgy of violence, was not ethnic communities prised asunder by a blind and inarticulate antagonism, but the image of a man urinating on a woman dying in the street.

    Poor Albion, once the home of Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, now but a land of ghouls and ghettoes.

    The war of all against all will not be fought with weapons of mass-destruction. The last war will be polygonal. Which is all about the exchange of an eye for an eye. We have finally met the enemy who is most like ourselves: homo lupus homini, holding the world in his brutally Darwinistic grip. A force without a conscience, creating a society that is openly devouring itself. A world where people will simply tear one another apart.

    There is only one thing that will fundamentally alter the existing equation!

    Think about it!


  7. Death will alter the equation, Dreamy. A final, universal death for the species. May it come.

  8. Blimey, Selena - blistering stuff - and you must tell me what the one thing needful is (I am, after all, a traumatised crime victim, sob, sniff)...
    And thanks everybody for the commiserations and anecdotes. Keep em coming!

  9. Nige, you need a dog, not a gun. For one thing, since you weren't home when your house was burgled, a gun would have done no good: It would only have been stolen along with the camera and used to commit other crimes, more violent ones.

    A few years ago, here in Philly, we had a serial rapist/burglar in the city's wealthiest area: Rittenhouse Square. He was never caught, though he eventually turned himself in. Know what he said when he did? He said if there was a dog in the place he was breaking into, he turned away. (Cats, however, simply looked at him and he slipped right past.)

    Get a dog -- they protect the house and they are fabulous companions!

  10. Sorry to hear you were burgled Nige - it's the feeling of being violated somehow isn't it? - and insecurity, and being annoyed with yourself for feeling insecure and seething and ... But it passes. Most people get back to normal fairly soon.
    I hope when you do get back to sensible you think again about this gun stuff though. Where would the gun have been when you were out of the house and these villains broke in? Your gun would have been worth far more to them than your PC. Susan's got the right idea - a dog. Biggish, bit of attitude, territorial. (Nothing with a pedigree that might make it worth nicking though.)
    All the best,


  11. Indeed, a hound is a good solution, though it has to not mind being left in the house all day if you've a 9 to 5 job. It doesn't have to be aggressive, even a mild-mannered dog will bark if someone starts prowling around, and even small dogs can cause unbelievable damage when they get going on someone. i'd personally avoid an overly aggressive dog, as you don't strike me as someone who'd be that comfortable with large aggressive animals, Nige (not a bad thing!). A dobermann, contrary to their press as killers of the night & psychotic temps' companions, are good: lovely to behold, sleek, shiny, orange of eyebrow, marvellous dogs, but very friendly - but, yes, they will kill if need be.

    Problem with guns is even people who've trained in their use often freeze up when they have a human being in their sights. Adrenaline does funny things to people. Even if you get a good rage reaction, that isn't necessarily good with a firearm, unless you want to do a Pulp Fiction and discharge your entire magazine into the wall or your own foot. And people often just freeze up, in which case the burglar may just take the gun off you and, well, you're worse off than before.

    In all fairness, of course, you know Bryan was the burglar.

  12. Elberry: Universal Death will alter the equation

    That’s 9 out of 10 for a possible solution. Particularly pleasing results could be achieved by the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Third World countries.

    Susan B.: Get a dog -- they protect the house and they are fabulous companions!

    Did I not mention the burglar who was bitten by a dog? - which, by a splendid irony, resulted in the woman owner being charged in a court of law for negligence in connection with causing actual bodily harm.

    This is not a joke - this is England!

    Anonymous: a dog. Biggish, bit of attitude, territorial...

    On the other hand, they are more physically proximate and thus more austere and less serene; a type of dog whose links with bloodshed are impossible to ignore... was evil, evil looking. And it had a horrible snarl I will never forget... We locked eyes for a few seconds and then it took off - I was five years old. Did you know that approximately half a dozen infants are savaged annually in this country alone by territorial dogs with an attitude problem...?

    Before I was six, I understood that territorial dogs are definitely not the solution to the attrition of human society.

    Nige: you must tell me what the one thing needful is

    I am not going to give you the solution to a crucial problem in demographic theory without proper reflection on your part. It is, after all, the most likely way of accounting for your experience and wide reading in natural history.
    But whether you like it or not, Nige, we are dealing with forces, not with men!

    Meanwhile, you have my total and very sincere empathy.


  13. Ah thanks Selena - I'll resume reflecting when I am less paralysingly tired...
    My friend Cheever has the perfect dog solution I think - those little Tibetan temple dogs (latsu?) which bark like absolute psycho bastards, but are in fact small, gentle and v manageable. On the other hand, they'd probably get nicked. Someone else told me today about a break-in at a Liverpool builders' yard where the thieves made off with the guard dogs, as well as everything else. True story.

  14. ...or get a flock of geese, Nige - they make a hell of a racket!

  15. Now i'm no expert on burglary but taking into account the opinions on offer - including Selena's metaphysical perspective as an alien - i can recommend the following solution to your burglary problem:


    Are you plagued by burglaries?
    Do you feel insecure in your home?
    Do youths hang around your house, looking mean and up to no good?

    If the answer is YES, you need AN APPLEYARD.

    What is an APPLEYARD?

    Our company (WWW.BRYANAPPLEYARD.COM) manufacture authentic APPLEYARD cardboard cut-outs of Bryan Appleyard, 'TV man' and Sunday Times columnist.

    These are no ordinary cardboard cut-outs! These are INDISTINGUISHABLE from Bryan Appleyard (at ranges of more than 20 metres in dim lighting). A discreet sound system, motion tracker, and simple rotator help the APPLEYARD track incoming burglars (and murderers and rapists). Upon detecting a potential threat, the APPLEYARD 1000 will swivel to face the ne'er do well and boom, authoritatively: "I AM BRYAN APPLEYARD AND I AM ARMED. BEWARE."

    If the intruder does not immediately retreat, the APPLEYARD 1000 continues (accompanied by the theme music to Taxi Driver): "BRYAN APPLEYARD IS A MASS MURDERER. YOU ARE IN HIS HOME. HE IS WRATHFUL. PREPARE FOR DEATH."

    If the intruder does not retreat, the APPLEYARD 1000 will now, while reciting John Ashbery, fire twin miniguns (as seen in the motion picture Predator) in the general direction of the intruder. The APPLEYARD 1000 will discharge 10,000 rounds of minigun ammunition covering an arc of 30 degrees to ensure the intruder's extermination, and follow up with 50 M203 grenades, and a flamethrower.

    After discharging both miniguns, M203 grenades, and the flamethrower, the APPLEYARD 1000 will note, laconically, "SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT MY BOOK ON IMMORTALITY, ASSHOLE."

    The APPLEYARD 1000 - only $5.99 from all reputable stores! Order one now and ensure peace of mind! While stocks last!

    i've got on at home and in my office. i feel very secure.

  16. I prefer the 1001 model - cleans the carpets too.

  17. I commiserate, Nige. At least he or she didn't shit on the carpet. I've heard this is quite a common occurance. Now that really would add insult to injury, wouldn't it?

    Selena Dreamy, are you sure you are not Elberry's feminine side?

    No cold shower needed this time, Nige. More like a stiff drink.

  18. Get a dog, Nige. Odds are they will be back now that they know how to get in, after sufficient time has elapsed for you to replace the stolen goods. That reminds me that I've read that many local police stations have been closed in the past decade, and that property crimes have risen as a result. Is there any truth to that? How close is the nearest station to you?

  19. Neil - don't worry, the cat took care of the shitting side of things. Nervous enough at the best of times, he/she/it (that's another story) voided his/her/its bowels on the bath mat. Yes, the cat shat on the mat.
    Randy - it makes no difference in this country how near or far the cop shop is - they have no serious interest in burglary. Their attitude is, roughly, shit happens - here's a reference number. It's your fault anyway for not ruining your house with arc lights, intruder alarms, plastic windows etc. Last time I was burgled I was living next to a cop. He was building an extension and had thoughtfully left a wide open space between our houses for any passing burglar to stroll round the back and help themselves. Unfortunately the burglars turned right rather than left, so it wasn't him who got done over.

  20. You have a stable door? You aren't living in a Council House then, friend. I sympathise for your loss but can't imagine that it affected your wallet much. You don't sound so poor to me, fella.