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Farming Today (Radio 4): Big increase in rural crime


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Apparently the last six months has seen a large increase in rural thefts, including quad bikes, fuel, and other things that didn't make it through the early morning fug into my memory. NFU mutual is smarting from the increased payouts, but doesn't plan to raise their premiums. There was also an article on meat thefts on "Farming Today" a week or two back.

A little googling also brings up recent news links, such as: GloucestershireLive.

I'm not really sure what to make of this, but if these reports represent many independent events, rather than the actions of a recently constituted single criminal organisation, then I guess this could indicate a rapid decline in rural economies this year?

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5 minutes ago, thewig said:

sounds like #vileBBC propaganda trying to force more people into the cities to force up their precious houseprices or something

I think "Farming Today" is fairly focused on the interests of whoever is stupid enough to be awake at that time, which is most likely predominantly farmers, rather than landlords. It's been running since 1960, so for various reasons perhaps relatively uncontaminated by recent BBC obsessions.

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50 minutes ago, Toast said:

 

I'm not really sure what to make of this, but if these reports represent many independent events, rather than the actions of a recently constituted single criminal organisation, then I guess this could indicate a rapid decline in rural economies this year?

The recent uptick in crime is not just a rural problem; it's nationwide. Rural crime is exacerbated as surveillance is less sophisticated/prevalent out in the sticks. 

A lot of the rationale behind police cuts was basically the belief that you could eventually replace a real police presence with increasingly sophisticated surveillance. To an extent it's true. There was a period during the 00s where the combination of the ever expanding surveillance culture and a still numerous police presence meant that the rural market town where I live was comfortably the safest it's been during my life time. 

Predictably the Tories pushed that balance too far out of whack. Criminals have cottoned on that the police are too stretched now. In a town centre, surveillance will still make people think twice. Out in the sticks, not so much. 

Some of the effects of this are fairly vanilla; the rave scene is booming here again for example. But when you add the toxic mix of long term underemployment into an easy opportunity for crime it's not hard to see why these kinds of crimes are on the increase. 

My wife runs a shop in the town centre of the rural market town where we live and as such has got to know several officers who make the rounds from the town centre police station which is about 100 yards away. One recently let slip that on a Friday or Saturday night these days there are only a handful (less than 10) of cops on duty in a town of 80k people. 

When I think back to growing up in the 90s, the scale of weekend drunken violence and the constant loop that vans full of cops used to do around the town centre between 10 and 2ish that seems unthinkable to me. I can vividly remember waking up to blood on our front door regularly when my family lived right in the town centre (expensive neighbourhood too; you just accepted it as normal back then). 

 

Times have changed I guess but you wonder how long for. 

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1 hour ago, chronyx said:

Nope. Just vile tr*vllrs doing what they do, knowing they're effectively legally immune and logistically able to avoid any recriminations

Had this happen (well nearly) just this afternoon. I'm outside on the customers driveway routing out hinges for an internal door i'm hanging when a bloody great pick-up drives onto said driveway, & in an almost unintelliigable accent one of the two fat fuks demanded to know if the (customers) cars on the driveway were for sale. I replied along the lines of - wtf are you talking about? 

He then gets a bit angry and tells me to get the owner, the guy (my customer) works nights, so I walk right up to the door of his pick-up tell him in no uncertain terms to f**k off whilst making a point of taking down his registration on my phone. Luckily they did, but talk about brazen and whilst this is going on i thinking - fuk - all my li-ion tools are lying about the place to do the job i'm doing.

From my experience of them whilst living / working in London the Met are more scared of them than we were - wouldn't lift a finger despite numerous break-ins to our workshops, whole load of 'em lived over the road on a disused bus depot, (Hackney Wick) turns out they just all rocked up en masse one day - built a wall round the perimeter of the old depot and it was theres apparently - easy as that..........................

 

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9 hours ago, Hullabaloo82 said:

the rave scene is booming here again for example.

I've been waiting to hear a comment like this for along time! I have a suspicion (with no quantitative evidence) that a strong party scene with good music is one of the few positive effects of an economic downturn. The early '90's were seen as "60's light", and the 60's were, of course, the 60's; while there was a Bohemian scene in the '30's.

So, I'm thinking this particular comment is less to do with police numbers and more to do with economic fundamentals.

Thank you for the other insights in your post, too. Any idea why these things should be happening more particularly in the last six months, which seems like a strange time-frame when all the underlying causes have been in place for longer?

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1 hour ago, Toast said:

So, I'm thinking this particular comment is less to do with police numbers and more to do with economic fundamentals.

Yep, although the (highly dubious) unemployment stats are showing almost full employment, the lack of wage increases for a large proportion of the population is really starting to bite given than even official inflation figures are showing almost 3% rises. 

I am increasingly reading about thefts of motorcycles and jet skis, etc from lockups in broad daylight. Something that happened a lot in the 90s, but has been relatively absent from the local papers until now.

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14 hours ago, Toast said:

I've been waiting to hear a comment like this for along time! I have a suspicion (with no quantitative evidence) that a strong party scene with good music is one of the few positive effects of an economic downturn. The early '90's were seen as "60's light", and the 60's were, of course, the 60's; while there was a Bohemian scene in the '30's.

So, I'm thinking this particular comment is less to do with police numbers and more to do with economic fundamentals.

Thank you for the other insights in your post, too. Any idea why these things should be happening more particularly in the last six months, which seems like a strange time-frame when all the underlying causes have been in place for longer?

Why the last 6 months in particular? My guesses (forewarning, some of you won't like this);

Life in the country can be quite expensive. Using my area as an example again, the local council no longer subsidised bus routes. A 4 weekly pass used to cost 35 quid in 2010. It's about 65 now plus no Sunday or late night services and reduced day time services. God forbid you miss the last bus after work and have to take a taxi (kiss goodbye to half a days wages). Chances are you will need a car which will eat up a huge amount of your earnings.

Welfare reform is biting this year; so is post referendum inflation on cost of food and other essentials. Council tax is up. There is no choice in really rural areas, especially if you dont own a car and have to walk to the local Londis or other variety of rip off merchant. No chouce but to pay whatever you are quoted for essentials. All this at a time when wages (already some of the lowest in the country) have stagnated.

In fact, although people often have this rural idyll fantasy, the reality is only around 4% in the region I work in work in farming. We are haemorrhaging professional jobs to the cities; office and retail jobs are on the wane (former: efficiency savings meaning rural offices are no longer wanted, latter: the internet), huge numbers of people are employed in increasingly insecure, gig economy jobs; zero hours at a supermarket, taxi driver, "beauty therapist", that kind of thing. 

At the same time though, as remote working expands and city centres become unaffordable, more and more people are moving out of the cities and commuting from our fair town. Knock on effect; average house price something like 10 times the local average male wage. Not just that though; the town is actually also popular with tourists from the south east / other urban areas (many, like my dad's "neighbours", buy second homes here). Pretty much every other bar/restaurant/deli now caters to this crowd  (apart from the north side of town which is becoming increasingly isolated and, frankly, might as well be in Timbuktu for all at least half the residents care); Wetherspoons is still thriving but discounters are increasingly giving up the ghost. McDonald's on the high street actually closed down here, that's how posh this place is now. 

So overall picture; "left behinds" on low wages in an increasingly expensive area where they are increasingly unwanted having to commit crimes to get by. 

And the rave thing? Definitely police resource driven. During the dark days of the mid to late 00s when the scene was dying on its ****, the police could turn up in sufficient numbers to break up all but the biggest rave and they would drag all the latest surveillance gear with them to get convictions. Nowadays they will only do that when someone else is footing the bill. Hence, football derby days still make Guantanamo bay look like a tea party at Buck House whereas, provided it's big enough, all you get at a rave is a few cops standing off to the side checking you're all playing nicely and maybe taking a few license plates down. Safety in numbers. 

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