Crime Wave- well ripple, really.

This past week, my illusions about petty crime in our area - that there is none - were shattered. On Wednesday, my husband dressed in his cycling gear to go to the office but when he went to the garage it turned out that someone else has already cycled off on his bike. Definitely a case of ‘all dressed down, with no way of going’. We were shocked, frankly, as we live at the end of a cul-de-sac and the only times the garage is unlocked is when we are at home in daylight. It’s unlikely to have been a case that a thief just happened to be passing and saw an opportunity to procure some new wheels (literally, as my husband had just spent time and money renovating the bike). Even the police were surprised that we were hit. In fact, such is my sense of security, that I often leave the car unlocked in the unlocked garage with my wallet lying on the front seat as I’ve my hands so full coming in that it takes an extra trip to bring my bag in and lock the car and garage. Needless to say, that’s a trip I’m now very diligent about taking.
Even more bizarrely, I may just be one of the first victims of toilet cubicle crime in the area too. On Friday, I used the restroom at the local shopping centre (now Scandinavia’s biggest, by the way) and while doing so hung a small plastic bag, containing a DVD my daughter had just picked out for our upcoming car trip to Denmark, on a hook on the wall. I came out, washed my hands and realized I’d left the bag on the hook. Of course someone else had gone into the cubicle so I waited, and waited, feeling in my bones that the DVD was not going to be there when the occupant emerged. Sure enough out came a girl, to reveal an empty hook, so I asked her if she had seen my shopping bag. I spoke Norwegian but she answered me in English saying she had just gone in there so she didn’t know what I was talking about. It was hard to communicate with the hand drier blasting in our ears but she then switched to Norwegian, obviously taken aback by the fluency of my English, and continued to act as if I was delusional. Of course then I did doubt my sanity (I often do) and looked in the adjacent cubicle to check that I hadn’t got confused, but really I knew that she had gone in straight after me and must have taken the bag. I stopped short of asking to see inside her zipped shoulder bag because I felt so uncomfortable about accusing her of stealing outright.
Luckily a cleaning lady was standing by the door, and looking suspiciously at the girl, who was Asian, asked me what the problem was. I told her and she called security. All the time the girl’s face was expressionless while she took her time washing her hands and drying them; I stood fidgeting wondering if I was going to make it to the preschool on time to fetch my younger daughter. The 'suspect' then went to leave the restrooms but the cleaning lady told her to wait which she did calmly for a few moments until security arrived.
I explained to the very, very attractive young man in uniform what had happened and before he could say anything, the thief unzipped her bag, and slowly extracted my plastic bag. ‘Bitch!’ I said, almost spitting at her, displaying a fury I hadn’t realized was bubbling under the surface. She muttered in English that she was sorry, to which I batted back ‘You’re not sorry’! It’s as near to a cat fight as I’ve come in a longtime and for a guilty moment I wondered if I could be arrested for name-calling. I said I didn’t want to press charges, as I needed to go, but as I departed in a rage, expressing gratitude to the cleaning lady, the guard was checking the thief’s ID and searched the rest of her belongings. I guess she's now telling her pals what a shit day she had in Friday.
So there I was, twice in less than three days, touched by crime. My daughter is telling anyone who will listen that a robber stole her Daddy’s green bike and that a woman tried to steal her DVD but was caught by a policeman who went into the ladies’ toilets.
After the constant need for surveillance of one’s person and belongings, both inside and outside the home, while living in Manila, moving to Oslo allowed a drastic down-adjustment in security levels. And sure - Oslo is a whole lot safer than Manila, especially out on the wealthier Westside. However, after this week, I’ve realized that it’s not quite the crime-free utopia I naively took it for. Shame.
The greater shame is the anger that both these incidences has generated in me personally and the ripple of negativity that I am now proliferating by sharing them with you. Obviously it's time for a trip abroad.
Thank goodness for next weekend's 18-hour return car journey with three kids to Denmark for great-grandmother's 90th birthday party (and you thought I didn't have a social life!). That's sure to instill a sense of calm and relaxation in the household, isn't it?

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