Theft on the streets
It was, I would say, about five o’clock. It was sunny, quite bright, lots of cars going up and down the northern end of Dominion Road. I was sitting in a car opposite the Silver Bell Market, and I looked over to the street.
There, I saw an Asian woman and who I believed to be her son (somewhat taller than her), arguing with a long-haired Pasifika male over whether or not it’d be okay for the Pasifika to just "take" their grocery shopping off them.
Naturally, I was shocked. They had barely walked out of the shop. I was too far away to hear the argument, though I do remember the son yelling, "No, not okay!", and attempting to snatch the bag back.
They put up a fight. But in the end, he took the bag, and strolled down the street and around the corner as if it were something that he does every day. He did pass, by the way, another stunned citizen (Asian), who could only turn and stare at the thief, apparently either unable or unwilling to do something.
And by this time, a crowd of about ten or so others had built outside the store — afraid to walk past the incident, I presume — all watching in equal horror as I was. They, like the passer-by (and, admittedly, myself), seemed unintent on doing anything. (In my defense, the car windows were open and I couldn’t leave the car unattended.)
This was in broad daylight. There were lots of people around. Not one person would attempt, in some way, to stop the crime happening.
The woman, I figured, was talking to the police on her cellphone. Good to report the crime, and let them build a profile, but realistically, I knew they’d do nothing. The police are understaffed and underfunded and, quite frankly, they have far better things to do than chase up a $20 theft — like catching speeders.
Why did everyone just stand there? Were they really so helpless, because they had to cross the road and leave a car unattended like I would’ve had to? Or did they just not help because no-one else was? I’m confused. And shocked. But mostly confused.