I was chatting recently to my brother-in-law when he related to me the story of a cleaner at a car wash in Johannesburg who recently helped herself to R20 000 that she found in the glove compartment of a car that she was cleaning.
What cheek when you consider that the owners of the car were seated close by, waiting patiently for her to clean their car. The story has a sad ending. Although the couple realised upon entering their car that the money was missing, it became their word against the cleaner’s. Miss Car Washer had already stashed her loot somewhere (probably with the connivance of her colleagues) and when the police were called, their hands were tied because there was no proof that there was ever R20 000 in the car! The thief did not turn up for work after that day and one hopes that her ways catch up with her in the near future.
I am sure there are numerous tales that rival or exceed this one in terms of highlighting the criminal element that is now rife within our communities. We hear of such stories so often that our first reaction is to pour blame and ridicule at the victims, in this case the people whose money was stolen. Many of us probably feel that it was a stupid and naïve act to leave a large amount of cash in the glove compartment when it is well known that nobody should be trusted. We have little, if any sympathy. That line of thinking which I am also guilty of implies that criminals have the right to pilfer and loot from hard working and honest folk and the onus is on these folk to make sure that they avoid the criminals. This warped mentality likens criminals to lions in a game park. The lion is known to be dangerous and therefore the responsibility is on the game viewer to exercise caution when touring the game park. I say today that the two situations are not the same and it high time that we stop blaming the victims and declare war on the law breakers.
We have allowed ourselves to become such victims of crime that we have developed some tolerance towards it. Is at any wonder therefore that crime levels are so high and continue to soar? As long as we hear people making statements such as; “At least he only took the cash from my wallet and did not go off with my bank cards and identity documents; then we should know that the high crime rate is here to stay!