Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blaming the victims of burglary

The Daily Mail rightly gets indignant about a letter of "apology" sent by a 16-year-old burglar to his victims:
"I don’t no why I am writing a letter to you! I have been forced to write this letter by ISSP. To be honest I’m not bothered or sorry about the fact that I burgled your house.
"Basicly it was your own fault anyways. I’m going to run you through the dumb mistakes you made. 
"Firstly you didn’t draw your curtains which most people now to do before they go to sleep. 
"Secondly your dumb you live in Stainburns a high risk burglary area and your thick enough to leave your downstairs kitchen window open. I wouldnt do that in a million years. But anyways I don’t feel sorry for you and Im not going to show any sympath or remores."
The trouble is that this young villain has absorbed a view that the crime prevention movement tends to put over. That is, if you are burgled it is your fault for not having taken sufficient precautions.

I once wrote about this in a post (rather pretentiously) titled David Cameron's bicycle and the demoralisation of society:
The world that the current anti-crime movement envisages is something like a cross between a secure psychiatric hospital and an airport departure lounge. There are no sharp edges, in case we hurt ourselves or someone else, and to own or display something attractive is an invitation to have it stolen. 
To escape this fate we need to start talking about morality again. We cannot go on treating every crime as a sign that something else needs to be banned or that the state has failed and therefore needs to spend even more money.
So it is not such a surprise to see that the Mail has accompanied its report with a photograph captioned:
Chief Inspector Melanie Jones said the contents of the letter were 'disgusting' but could prove useful as a warning to householders

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

Does the same argument apply to the 'crime' of smoking in a car and thereby abusing oneself? (I exclude the problem of the potential harm to children of being in a car in which one or more adults are smoking or have been smoking just before the child gets into the car.)