Updated: Dec 18, 2020
According to Essex Police there were 4 burglaries in Thorpe Bay from 9th November to 9th December.
Although 4 burglaries may not seem a substantial number, the effect on the mental health of the people who were victim to those crimes may stay with them forever. It is always hard to truly empathise with people who have experienced traumatic circumstances in their lives, but that doesn’t mean we cannot understand how we might feel if it happened to us. Personally, I would imagine myself to be petrified by the thought of strangers coming into my home with no idea as to what might happen.
With this is in mind we must all remain vigilant where we can regardless of where we live. Essex Police have some excellent advice on how to prevent residential burglary, where discussion ranges from controlling and preventing access to your home, to a leaving home checklist. Much of it may sound like common-sense, however, how many of us are actually doing it? www.essex.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary/
Should we give sympathy to the burglars?
The victims in these situations should seem obvious and anyone that commits crime should be punished accordingly. The anger I might feel towards anyone who would have done that to me would be quite raw, and my instinct would naturally want the perpetrator to feel the full force of the law. It is therefore quite an ask for us all to find any sympathy towards the burglar.
Yet, removing the emotion from the situation and as ludicrous as it sounds, I can see how they themselves are victims too. Everyone has their story to tell and somehow these people managed to make decisions that put them in a situation where they were willing to risk their lives and break into a person’s property. I do not know many people that are able to put food on the table, a roof over their head, have a job that pays enough to take care of their needs, are mentally stable, and who received a reasonable education, willing to undertake such a task. It just isn’t the behaviour of reasoned people.
It certainly is not a popular position to have sympathy, empathy and understanding for those that commit the crime. In fact this line of thought is more likely to cause great anger especially for the victims of particularly appalling crimes. But I do have sympathy, not because I support what they do, but, and as cold as it sounds, because I would not want to be them. I would not want their mind, their up-bringing, their genetics, their spirituality, their financial position, their mental anguish, their naivety, or their moral code. I am thankful I am not them. It is not out of the question that anyone who faced their particular mix of circumstances may fall victim in the same way.
Yet even if this is not the case we are still left with an individual in our society who is effectively broken, and in need of effective steps to prevent it happening again.
Is it important to have sympathy for the burglar? If it is, what would be the effect on political decision making?
Anyone needing to win votes to be in their position will need the backing of X amount of people. It is quite clear that being tough on law and order is an absolute must in this respect. If any political Party is perceived as weak in this area they will not be trusted to protect us. Unfortunately this is what feeds into political decision-making. To be seen to be doing something is far more important than perhaps doing something that will actually change society for the better.
Locking people up is doing something – getting to the root of somebody’s problem through long-term rehabilitation does not appear to be doing anything at all – to the eyes of the public at least! When was the last time you saw a headline that proudly stated how many criminals had been transformed into being fine upstanding member of society? If memory serves: none.
Yet all transformations in people that are for the good of our society really ought to be revered and celebrated. Those who are behind the transformations are in fact heroes as they are changing society for the better. Instead we are a society that calls for blood, small cells and condemnation. Yes, people that are dangerous to society must be kept away for obvious safety reasons, but there are those that could thrive if only for a sympathetic, supportive, understanding and compassionate society driving politicians to focus on investing resources into everything related to a person’s transformation.
I am aware that rehabilitation already takes place to a lesser or greater extent, and to a lesser or greater efficacy, but it is not currently the central focus of political energy and it won’t be unless society pushes in this direction.
Of course, anyone that commits a crime should be subject to the law; however, if we stopped castigating them and instead search for the best in each person then real change is possible. People do take the wrong path – most of us have done it at some point(s) in our lives, and unfortunately some do cross the line into unlawful behaviour. But in our society once the criminal act has taken place that’s it – they lose their human being status and degenerate into becoming simply a Criminal. But whether we like it or not a person that commits a crime remains a human being. They remain as part of our society and they will re-join our society in time. The question is whether we are hell-bent on punishment above all else whether we believe that will transform them of not, or whether we really are trying to help anyone that has fallen to help them back to their feet? It would be understandable for those that ask: why should we?
My comments may come as an anathema to those of you that have diligently followed the law all your lives, yet if you really want crime to reduce it is vital to look into the causes. Desperation, desolation and zero opportunities are not the causes of reduced crime. Being tough on crime is not about long sentences, being tough on crime is being sympathetic to the causes of an individual’s behaviour, and seeking as a society to create a supportive system willing to transform them into the best person they can be. For the victims of the burglary, the anger they may feel would justifiably point towards an attitude that they do not deserve the chance. Absolutely understandable. Objectively, however, we should try to concentrate our efforts towards investment in transformational practices, because without this internal change in the person, the same anger might be felt by another family in the future as they fall victim to a similar crime.