Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Clever Thief

Over the years, our squirrels have provided a lot of low cost entertainment.   While our feathered friends  haven't appreciated their adeptness in snatching seed from the bird feeder, I thoroughly enjoy the antics of these clever little thieves.   A friend now purchases special ears of corn designed just for feeding the squirrels and a quick internet search turned up dozens of squirrel feeders.  I’ve no plans to buy one, however.  I think they get a bit of a thrill from stealing it out of the bird feeder.  They’re a bit like our dog, who loves to swipe food from the cats’ dishes, but displays little interest, when we put the same food in his own bowl.

Speaking of thieves, we are especially pleased with the low crime rate in our new locale.  We got a bit of a smile over the “rash of pool filter thefts” (two in the same year) and the theft of a potted plant that was featured on the front page story of our town’s newspaper along with quotes from the police and interviews with concerned neighbors.  We're not condoning petty thievery, but it’s a far cry from the years spent in a city where armed robberies and assaults were so commonplace that they frequently weren't considered newsworthy.  

I guess that’s the difference between country and city life.  Our new residence is reminiscent of my childhood home, where no one locked the door, even when we were away for several weeks.   “Of course we don't lock the door”, my mother explained.  “What if one of the neighbors needed to borrow something and couldn't get in the house?”    Cars were left parked in driveways with the keys in the ignition.  In the forty years that my parents resided there, the town experienced only one auto theft. 

While we feel very safe here, four decades of city living has made its mark.  We wouldn't dream of leaving either our house or our car unlocked.  I supposed that they might not do that in my childhood town anymore, assuming that car theft rates have increased along with other crimes.  That prompted a bit of research and a few surprises.   The first was that US car theft rates along with other types of crimes have decreased over the last thirty years.  FBI crime reports show that property crime rates, which peaked in the eighties, have now declined to a rate close to that of the sixties.  Canadians have experienced a similar trend as shown in an infographic by Kanetix( about car theft across Canada – Kanetix notes, however, that as of 2010, Canada was still averaging a car theft every six minutes.  Worldwide, Switzerland has the highest rate of car thefts and is followed by New Zealand, England, Sweden and Australia.  Canada places ninth, while the U.S. didn't make the top ten list at all.

I'll still be careful about my car’s security.  You should be too, particularly if you live in California. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, seven of the top ten U.S. cities for auto theft are located there.

An increase in technology is credited for the decline of the auto theft rate.  All of the most commonly stolen vehicles were made prior to 2007.  Newer vehicles are beyond the skills of all but the cleverest thieves and I'm not talking about the squirrels!

No comments :

Post a Comment