I’m sorry to report that my earlier optimism about theft in Johannesburg was misplaced. I’ve been the victim of a break in. Perhaps I sealed my fate by describing how I thought security was excessive in Johannesburg. That having been said, all the security in the world will not protect you if you hand the keys over to the crook that robs you.
That is quite possibly what happened when my house was broken into. My roommate Matt had been renting the property’s back cottage to a couple. They had not paid the rent in over four months. Finally Matt just cut his losses and asked the couple to leave. A few days later, we had a break-in, but the front gate’s lock was unbroken. Considering that several computers and a large screen TV were among the items stolen and the fact that the house is ringed by a tall fence, it would seem that the robbers had a copy of the key. Only two individuals would fit that description.
For reasons I will never understand, Matt and Lizzy did not change the outer lock. I was unaware of this fact because I used a different gate to get into the house. The thieves were dedicated if nothing else, and they broke into the house a second time to take whatever they didn’t get the first time. I lost most of my electronics the second go-round, including my camera, which is why you haven’t seen pictures on this blog recently.
The police were woefully ineffective. Two officers arrived some six hours after the first break-in occurred. The senior officer took statements while his partner did his best to look intimidating with an assault rifle, which is, to be fair, a job pretty much anyone capable of holding an assault rifle can do. Forensics arrived five days later to take whatever fingerprints possibly remained. Lizzy and Matt expressed their confidence in Johannesburg’s finest by hiring a private investigator. I’ve thus far heard nothing from the police or the investigator.
Despite all this, I maintain that we were lucky. The crooks waited until everyone in the house was gone to commit their crime. Though the loss of goods is frustrating, the robbery could have been much worse if someone were home. Lizzy was seven months’ pregnant at the time, and it would have been terrible if she had run into the robbers. Though the loss of our possessions is frustrating, we’re all unharmed and that’s really what matters.