We were burgled.
We've been out of the house while it was renovated and painted, while we were gone someone robbed us.
They don't seem to have taken much. We're still trying to figure it out. But they definitely took my fancy TV, a couple of gaming machines, and an expensive knife set I gave my wife for her birthday.
Unfortunately those knives had just been sharpened, so someone out there who is okay with robbing houses now has a set of very sharp knives.
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A lot of people I have spoken to who have been burgled talk about the sense of invasion they feel, that their home is no longer a sacred place. I totally get that. I just don't feel it. It may be by virtue of it not having taken place while we were home. Or I just don't feel that way.
It's only stuff right? I'll get it all back from insurance and then we'll be no worse off than before. It's a mild inconvenience. The only person who really stands to lose is the person who did it, if they catch him.
I have thought a lot about the person who did it. I don't know their story. I don't know their background. Why did they do it? Was it deliberate? Opportunistic?
Maybe they did it because we're getting close to Christmas and they couldn't afford to buy nice presents for their family. Maybe they needed to eat. Maybe they have a drug addiction that needed satiating. Maybe they just wanted the money.
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None of these reasons is enough for me to want to see them put through the justice system. I don't think that our current justice system makes people better, quite the opposite, I think it makes them worse.
Prison makes people far worse when they leave than when they go in. Punishment doesn't deter people from committing crime, it just makes their life awful for a period of time. Their victims don't get anything from someone serving time for petty crimes like this. Unless they are thirsty for vengeance. But prison shouldn't be about vengeance.
So instead of wanting whomever did this to be caught and hauled before the courts and potentially face prison, I'd rather we had a government that looked into what caused them to do it.
Are they too poor? Let's give them money. Are they not working enough? More projects and jobs can be created by the state. Were they feeding a drug habit? Let's get mental health treatment that doesn't turn drug users into criminals but helps them come off their drug of choice if they want, or manages their usage safely.
Someone suggested that there isn't a cure for being a dick and that might be what the person was who did it, but again something like a robbery is going to be driven by a need. And if we can fulfil that need, or make it so they're not needing anything then we can address the causes of crime. And not make the criminal a worse person.
I'm sure not everyone who has gone through this feels like me, but I just look at how we've dealt with crime to date and yet we still have crime.
No political party wants to be tarred with being soft on crime. It's why National has run in the opposite direction and is preaching a "tough on crime" message. Except it's not tough on crime.
It's tough on some of our most vulnerable and needy people. And all research shows that "tough on crime" policies don't actually help. It makes it worse. National is actively promoting punitive policies that hurt our most vulnerable and make society a crappier place.
What I'd like to see is the political steel to be smart on crime. And to be smart on what causes crime. This would mean people won't feel like they have to nick my big-ass TV and haul it up a bunch of stairs to the street.
Kelvin Davis has made a few positive announcements on helping some of our toughest prisoners. And Golriz Ghahraman and Andrew Little should be commended for giving back some prisoners the right to vote after John Key's National government took it off them. Still could go further, though.
Because the person who stole from me, they're a human being. I don't know much about them but I know they are that. And human beings deserve to be treated with humanity and dignity. They don't deserve to be made to feel less than, nor provided with the tools and motivation to be a worse person. Nor to be put in a position where they have to be.
So to the person who nicked my stuff, I wish you hadn't, I hope you don't do it to anyone else, but I also hope you're doing okay.