Maria Katsounaki MARIA KATSOUNAKI

How many locks will keep us safe?

COMMENT

A gang that robbed tourists and locals in the center of Athens was recently caught by police after many months of systematic surveillance. Among those arrested, mostly Bulgarians and Romanians, were eight minors. 

So will everyone now be able to walk down Ermou Street and Monastiraki without having to watch their bags and pockets? Probably not. The threat remains, though there is definitely relief after the arrests.

One does not have to resort to statistical data. It is enough to talk about burglaries or thefts with friends, and one immediately understands that the trend is overwhelming.

It would be difficult to find a person in Athens and the wider Attica region who has not been the victim of a burglary, or knows someone who has.

During the summer, advertisements offering better home protection with locks, safes or special mobile phone apps that are connected to cameras are more prevalent. It is very indicative and not a chance occurence.

How is it to live with the threat of a burglary hanging over one’s head, when all one hopes for is not to be present when it happens?

And then, in what state is one’s home after it has been robbed and the furniture has been overturned; how does one react to losses, maybe small in value – not everyone hides money or jewelry around their house – but with sentimental signifiance?

And these are the simpler questions when dealing with a burglary, without taking into consideration other felonies. 

Apart from the big political, economic, domestic or foreign policy issues, our perception and relationship with the world is created and formed by what we call daily life, from our automated codes of conduct, our anxiety and stifling obligations, to the evaporation of freedom and pleasure.

Doesn’t the feeling that every house and apartment is vulnerable to gangs come at a cost?

Isn’t there now a sense that anything you lock and leave behind in your house may never be found again? How many precautions can a person take in a day?

How many locks and how many cameras does it take? 

Along with the fear and anger, suspicion and conservate behavior also intensify.

It is not enough to have more policing, which is already dramatically insufficient in Greece.

Nor it is helpful to target specific ethnic groups. Lawlessness, which skyrocketed because of the crisis, the government’s indifference, the uncontrolled influx of illegal and criminal elements, has side effects: It exacerbates insecurity, and creates “monsters.”

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