4.11.17…..In the run-up to Christmas the police usually put out a public appeal about burglary and theft dangers, but I wonder if they will this year. They have begged the Government for help but instead their numbers are cut, resources witheld. So, folks, the onus is more and more on US, isn’t it.
George Street has changed quite profoundly since pedestrianisation. We’ve lost higher quality retail traders and gained coffee shops, boozers and betting shops. We also have a lot of charity shops.
I was in Woolworths (now Peacocks) one day, not long after pedestrianisation, and the manager was following me around in an agitated way. It freaked me out, so I confronted him! He relaxed and told me that since pedestrianisation, his shoplifting problem had increased by 25%. The why of that is worth serious consideration, because it is an ongoing problem in the area.
I have myself had two purse thefts from my handbag and right under my nose since George Street was pedestrianised and began to attract non-locals to the area…and not to come and buy things either.
On the 1st of November I had my purse stolen, out of my bag, which was itself under the seat of my walking aid! In George Street. My thief or thieves learned a lot about me from my purse contents – like that I have a transplant, what drugs I have to swallow, who my doctors are, where I bank & shop and that I am disabled and need taxis to get about. And they know what goes into my bank account too (I had just been there and got cash and a mini-statement). Wow. Quite a haul.
My only other purse theft (ever) was at Hove Library 12-15 years ago when I was using their computers. My bag was on the floor with my foot on it. And I remember the crazed look on a fellow’s face as he stood in the doorway leering at me. And I saw that same look a week or so later (different bag) when I was back in the library and he was suddenly beside me, leaning forward, staring openly at the bag sitting by the printer with me watching him. So I assumed he was my thief! He looked like he had a challenge in front of him that gave him a big kick. It was extraordinary. But he knew to leave this one and chuckled off.
“We lose a lot in here”
But back to George Street! I know where my purse got taken this week because it was the only opportunity. The British Heart Foundation charity shop is hard to get round with a walking aid. There is NO space between the crammed together island rails and there are NO lines of sight through it all. And when I went to pay for a book and CD and found I had no purse, the lady behind the counter at the British Heart Foundation Charity Shop told me she’d had her purse taken in Sainsbury and added “we lose a lot in here”. Clothes can be whipped off rails unseen in there and I think my purse was taken by an unseen hand sliding between the seat of my walking aid and the hanging bag under it. Piece of cake to do it unseen in that overstuffed shop.
My purse was inside my handbag which was inside the underseat bag. It took serious skill to take it. The walker is either in front of me or I am sat on it almost continually. A professional thief? If the zip on the handbag was open, it would have possible for them to just put a hand between the seat and underseat bag and whip it out, totally unseen. There seemed to be an uncommon number of people present at the time, rifling rails but looking at me which I noticed but did not think about. I was jostled as I reached to hand a pair of velvet trousers to an assistant to re-hang. Was that when it happened? The mind runs and re-runs and then thinks about how THEY think.
Busy shops, cash points and bank users