Monday, September 24, 2007

Vandals, thieves and casual crime.

I walked to my local shop yesterday evening with the paramour only to to find it closed.
'There must have been an incident.' The paramour said, nodding to the smashed glass on one of the sliding doors.
'Nope,' I said, 'that's been like that for weeks now.'
So why was it closed? Turns out the young chap who works there got held up by a guy with a syringe just minutes before we arrived. He explained this in his usual cheery way as he smoked a trembly cigarette while waiting for the Gardai to arrive.
We expressed our pleasure that he himself was not harmed and waddled off (we had been in the Paramour's pappy's house for Sunday dinner and if we had eaten so much as a wafer thin mint it would have killed us)
But it struck me yesterday that the decidedly middle class area I live in has been rife with all sorts of crime of late. Nothing as dramatic as a syringe attack, but troubling nonetheless.
For example over the weekend the glass in the new bus shelter down the road was smashed to pieces. The lower glass panels of every phone box on one particular road I run down had been kicked out. There was fresh green graffiti on some of the walls-indeed I watched a very pissed off man using a wire brush to try and scrub the filth from the side wall of his home- and somebody had set alight a skip in Rathfarnham, while someone else-or maybe not- had smashed a window of an estate agents.
Now I'm going to go out on a wild limb here and suggest that the vast majority of this was done at night, and I'm going to balance further on that limb by suggesting there might have been alcohol involved.
So just what the hell is it that compels a person to destroy things like that? What bloody pleasure can a person derive from kicking the glass out of a door for no reason? Why would you do it?
I do not understand vandals. I understand thieves, they at least are trying to get their hands on something useful to them.* But what does a vandal get?
There is an interesting article in some of the English papers today about a 15 year old girl who has been given an ABSO ( warning about social behaviour) but who claims the ABSO only made her behaviour worse. Personally I think ABSO's are a complete load of bollocks and a pointless exercise in foot shuffling. But something has to be done to make little shits and bigger shits comprehend their actions.
I'm all for imposed civic duty for this one. I think vandals who are caught should be made spend a day or two undoing their handy-work. I think people who destroy bus shelters should be made replace that glass and spend a day working to serve the community they have affected.
There should be a reaction to their action, and it should be connected so that gurriers and louts see the effects their action cause and understand what a pin in the arse it is to fix.
What's the point in an ASBO? Why give them a badge of honour? Let them undo the damage they have caused, if they can, maybe that way the would think for a second longer before destroying something in a fit of needless stupidity.
Vandals, I'm against them.

* Scum who attack people with bloodied syringes deserve to rot in jail. I said I understood it, not that I feel soft towards it.



Anonymous Nonny said...

I’d imagine somebody like yourself lives in the Tempelogue / Terrenure area and see what happened there was the good auld Celtic Tiger bestowed wealth on many normal folk who ordinarily wouldn’t have afforded a house in those areas. The scum moved in and the trouble started. My friends Mam lives in Terrenure, the side of her house faces out onto a lane, she had to get a metal mesh fixed to the side window as the glass was smashed every other week. Ten years ago you would not have seen that carry on there. I think community service is just the thing or if you catch them first a good beating. The poor guy bad enough working on a Sunday.

10:35 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Vandals yes, but where do you stand on Visigoths, Huns and Thugees. And what about the Barbarian Hordes?

I blame the parents, and mahwage breakdown, and the licensed drug trade, and the fact there are no wars to pack these energetic youngsters off to.

And yes, publicly rub their noses in it, and have the parents there too, and photographers for the local freesheets.

10:57 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I doubt it's as simple as the wrong kind of people moving in Nonny. You can be sure plenty of the little shits come from good solid families.
Huns eh? I'm not against them, but Thugees remind me of The Fugees and I'm definitely not down with them.

1:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Primal Sneeze said...

The minor Visigothism in the village here, upturning flower pots, that kind of thing, was solved by the volunteers who come out each morning between 6:30 and 7:30 to pick up the rubbish putting everything back right.

The kids heading out to school in the morning don't get to see the damage they did the night before. There's no satisfaction for them and they stop.

1:06 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Oh, that sounds like such a good response, Primal. Fix it before they can gloat. Problem is that my lazy ass is not going to be on the street at that hour to do it. But it's still a good idea.
I'm also all for imposed community service.

1:21 p.m.  
Anonymous bendersbetterbrother said...

The first problem is catching them in the act. The second problem is that, if convicted, they get a small fine which doesn't compensate for the damage they've done and certainly doesn't give them much cause to think about the consequences of their actions. If they're on benefits they might only have to pay £1 a week back.

When caught, detain them whilst sufficient evidence is gathered to secure a conviction. At the same time send a bailiff's van round and remove everything they own bar a few clothes and a bed. Take their car, hi-fi, t.v., computer, phone, clear out their bank accounts and set this money aside until a court decides that they are guilty and how much repairs will cost.

I guarantee fewer offenders and re-offenders.

1:26 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Catching them is the problem all right. But like you I really do think fines are a complete waste of time. If they were really made take responsibility for their own actions by doing community work, perhaps they might- just might- think on next time the urge to destroy something comes on them. Or maybe not. Bah, who knows.
Primal, who are those dedicated people?

1:34 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Hmm FMC I guess I come from the often ridiculed Dublin 12 area and I am the swellest member of society I have ever encountered ah no I do think bad crowds moving in contributes significantly but in saying that look at that trouble in Templeogue a couple of years ago they where all born an reared there. Community service is a good idea; you actually don’t see that at all here sure you don’t? I have never heard of anyone doing community service do we even have it?

1:43 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I don't actually know. But it might be a good idea instead of bloody worthless fines.

2:02 p.m.  
Blogger P1P said...

I'd definitely want to see them paying for the damage in a fine with extra added on then being made to repaint or repair what they damaged with the owner getting to say when the job is done to their satisfaction.

Then take their thumbs.

2:26 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

You know, maybe the stocks weren't such a bad idea. Oh to be a district court judge!

3:16 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

hah! I'd say you'd be a most fair and just Yer Worship.

3:29 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

What we need is a good famine.

As for flower pots being knocked over. A strategically placed land mine under the flowerpot would soon alert these miscreants that their messing will not be tolerated.

3:33 p.m.  
Blogger aquaasho said...

While I was away last weekend a houe near us (I'm in roughly same area as you FMC) had a party for an entire weekend. When my husband phoned the gardai they said there was nothing they could do. How can there be nothing they can do? I just don't understand that, surely that's the exact situation an ASBO was designed for. So why aren't they using them instead of telling people there's nothing they can do?

3:44 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It's infuriating, it really is. And you feel so impotent, impotent and filled with a murderous rage.

3:57 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

Hang on, without wishing to draw your ire, aquaasho, I'm going to stick up for house parties. You should be allowed to have a house party. Why not? I was at a house party in London about 10 years ago and the neighbours complained and the police turned up and told the neighbours to stop harassing us. And that was pretty late at night.

I also live in roughly the same area as FMC as well...hmmm. There was a party in my estate over the weekend. Did it have xmas lights and balloons in the garden?

5:18 p.m.  
Anonymous Primal Sneeze said...

Ooops! Late answer to your Primal, who are those dedicated people question, FMC. (Damned work and all that).

They are Tidy Towns volunteers. Mostly retired folk, though a few others do a morning or two a week before work or at weekends.

They are not ashamed to embarrass someone coming out of the shop or waiting at the bus-stop into lending a hand if needed.

Unsung heroes really. Maybe we should throw a house party for them.

6:18 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

They sound like my kind of folk. I'm a wholly terror for saying, 'You DROPPED something' to people who litter too.

6:47 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh said...

Not that I'm one for "the good old days", when everything was supposedly all happy-in-the-land pre Celtic Tiger, but back in the day, there was an ARMY of Mammies out there - if you had done anything like you describe in any of the 5 housing estates near our school, you'd have a very high chance of being seen by a Mammy - who would be straight on to your own, and hell would ensue.

In primary, we got caught for sticking our tongues out at the most horrible mean yoke in the school (how brave were we!) - not even by her own mother, but by a neighbour - who only knew one of us, but that was enough to implicate us all. I was in trouble by the time I walked in the door at home.

9:25 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Jesus Sheese that is a very valid point. Nerver thought of that.

9:30 p.m.  
Anonymous Pinkie said...

EXACTLY Sheesh! That is what we need - mammies on the prowl. Kids dont fear the mammy anymore though. Though it would be more suitable to say that we feared upsetting the mammy or embarrassing the mammy rather than being afraid of her.

No fear - that's the problem. They do what they want in front of who they want cause no one is going to stop them because they fear fuck all. Little bastards.

10:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh said...

Yep Pinkie, dead right! I'm no way saying that every mother should stay at home - but there was something there, about the authority of a parent who is around all day (and has eyes and ears everywhere!)

I still think it is largely down to how people bring up their kids (whether they're around all day or not). I think there is a guilt thing as well if 2 parents work - like they feel a bit bad about being out working all hours, and also maybe 'cos they're wrecked, they indulge the little ones too much. I sound like my granny now - but they have to learn that they can't have everything they want, "now!" - and that there are consequences! I'm constantly shocked at the carry on of kids in shops / restaurants though.

'Course it's all very easy on the outside looking in, I know!

10:45 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You're quite right sheesh, the very idea of my parents getting a phone call or hearing about any carryon-and then would- was enough to curb any SERIOUS waywardness. I still got into scrapes as a child, but I didn't go around acting like a hooligan.

9:36 a.m.  
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