By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – Theft is on the rise now that the end of the year is drawing near. My father-in-law told me what happened at his home one night. It was a while back, about 15 years ago.
They were asleep the whole time. They had an alarm on which the burglars knew how to disactivate and I don’t know what they did to the dog, because he didn’t bark like they thought he would. They broke through the shutters that go into the kitchen, came into the house while the family was sleeping and took a twin-cassette deck, an electric pressure cooker, money and other things. Everything they could in the time they had and under these circumstances.
The family reported the burglary to the police the next day.
“Do you suspect anyone?” they asked when they showed up at the home. It’s the first thing they always ask.
They hadn’t brought dogs to search the place. Some experts apparently took some fingerprints, then they told my father-in-law that the case would be passed on to a detective.
They never found out who stole from them, although it’s clear that there was more than one person involved and it had to be somebody close to the family. It’s a special feature of these kinds of crimes.
Luckily, this kind of theft has been on the decline. It’s a calm neighborhood nowadays and the house is better protected. Plus, the most notorious criminals in the area are no longer in the country.
Normally, household theft takes place in backyards. Pigs, chickens… are taken. These animals are regularly protected by pens, but that doesn’t stop criminals from breaking in. However, the most dangerous cases are when they enter the home while residents are sleeping, like in the above case.
I then remembered the wave of burglaries, at night, which became a trend some time ago. Terror and insecurity took over my neighborhood. It was normal for us to learn about a case of this kind of misdemeanor within a 20 km-radius, every week.
The criminals were skilled at overcoming any obstacle, breaking into homes and taking whatever they could. They did this often armed with knives or machetes. In my neighborhood, a neighbor was threatened to keep quiet when he found a burglar in his home.
Luckily, the police managed to capture both him and his partners in crime. I can only remember one other instance when the police were able to capture the people responsible.
While this is no longer a common occurrence, another case becomes the news every now and then, when a family wakes up and finds everything gone. With material hardship for the Police to carry out this work (because I’m pretty sure they prioritize resources on more “high-priority” cases) and a lack of material incentives for officers, it’s hard for them to do their job.
It would be a great relief if in such a dangerous moment, when burglars are hot in the act, we could call the authorities and they show up quickly, or at least capture the criminals, after they come to check out the facts.
But we know that reality isn’t like the Cuban police show Tras la huella, which is broadcast some Sundays, and in which every case is solved.