Saturday 29 October 2022

"Our car was broken into last night"

Middle Cat informed me. 

I was not surprised and neither was Middle Cat or her husband. They had in fact been leaving the car unlocked expecting it to happen. As they never leave anything of value in the car and it is impossible to start without the requisite object it was actually safer to do this. The car does not get damaged.

Middle Cat heard the noise about 1am. Her husband went to investigate but did not manage to get a glimpse of the offenders. He would not have approached them but any description might have helped the police working on the problem. 

Yes, there has been a big spike in break-ins recently. Not so long ago three young offenders were caught in a neighbouring suburb - but not before they stabbed a mother and her young son. Two of those offenders were already out on bail - at the tender ages of thirteen and fourteen. The third was only twelve. They were out and about at four in the morning.  

Two of them are back in custody so the police know there are more offenders out there doing the same thing. No doubt that peculiar and highly successful communication network between offenders has been working many hours of overtime. 

After Middle Cat told me this one of the local dog walkers told me the same thing had happened to him earlier in the week. He was not quite so fortunate. The car lock will need to be replaced and a golf club from the back seat was taken. "I hope the little b.... doesn't use it as a weapon," he told me furiously, "And where in the hell are the parents?"

I hope the offenders don't use the golf club that way either. I too wonder about the parenting. Is it really that easy to sneak out without a parent knowing? I suppose it must be but none of us could have done that. The probable consequences would have been enough to stop us anyway.

"Twocking" is the act of taking a car belonging to someone else and driving it away without their consent. It used to be a rite of passage among the criminal class.  It still is. 

I worked in a school where a boy in another class had to appear in court because he was with three other lads who did just that. He was just twelve at the time and it was considered unusual and a very serious offence. His class mates treated him with contempt.

I wonder now how they would react. Children, particularly male children, seem to be able to "drive" at earlier and earlier ages. These are not rural children who learn to drive on the farm and are expected to help once they can. Those children do not leave the farm premises and they are breaking no laws provided they stay there. These are city children who should never have been behind the wheel of a car at all and yet they seem able to "twock" and break the speed limit from the time they can barely see over the wheel. One recently caught young offender was barely eight years of age. A few weeks earlier and the police could have done nothing at all apart from take him home and issue a few stern words. 

The dog walker is opposed to raising the age of criminal responsibility. As juvenile records are closed I am inclined to agree. Age is not the issue here, the offending is - and how we deal with that offending. Cars are potentially lethal weapons. Those using them can kill.  The young twockers cannot be allowed to simply get a telling off. 

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