I have gone a little left field with the blog and in light of recent events in London, it seems more appropriate to talk about the ‘Human Race’ rather than ‘Human Resources’ this week.

We’ve all heard of Neighbourhood watch. Some of us take part more than others: the more elderly of residents peering out the window at strangers passing by, or as I found out, my husband chasing a burglar across a number of garden fences in the middle of the day.

Let me explain. My husband was working from home last week, and having been disturbed around midday by a loud bang outside the house, followed by a house alarm going off, he decided to check everything was ok. Venturing next door and finding the neighbours side gate wide open (which was surprising), he wandered through to the side door to be confronted with a ‘burglar’ who had obviously finished with his ‘looting’ and was on his way out, all in the matter of a few minutes, but what followed still haunts me as to how things could have turned out.

Having seen my husband, the burglar took off with my husband taking chase! Following hurdles across 2 walls the burglar managed to get away, not without my poor husband having suffered a few cuts and bruises from diving over these walls to try and catch him, but more that, his pride was dented that he couldn’t catch them.

All sounds cops and robbers, but my husband is a policeman’s son and rightly or wrongly his gut instinct is to chase them. My first reaction was that he should have just let them go. Why would he put himself in danger? Doesn’t he have a family to think of? What if the burglar had turned on him and retaliated?  His response was, “I just couldn’t have let them think they could get away with it!!” 

Part of me also admired him. When there is dissention on our streets as with the riots last year, why is it that the majority of people would prefer to close their curtains to the reality and ignore it? The reasons are complex: society is now too scared to intervene because of the potential harm they can cause themselves and their loved ones. The perpetrators feel that they can get away with it (who’s going to stop them?), local Police don’t react quickly enough, there is never enough evidence to convict, sentences given out are not reflective of the crime, I could be sued if I harm that person – I could go on.

I certainly don’t agree with taking the law into our own hands, or putting ourselves at risk where crimes take place. But should we place all of the responsibility on the police to keep us safe?  Surely there is something, we, as society can do to help act as a deterrent early on. The last thing I promote is to move towards a vigilante society, far from it, however, what happens if we do nothing at all?

If we just allow crime to happen in our own back yard, the perpetrators may keep coming back. By establishing more connected communities that look out for the interests of both neighbours and strangers as well as ourselves we are bound to send a strong message of solidarity to those who intend to create negativity and disruption in our lives. There are some very courageous women in the media at the moment that have exemplified this approach to the greatest degree in the events surrounding the devastation in Woolwich. Over time, if we all took a similar stand in our own lives, no matter how great or small, there would hopefully be less grievous acts due to the unity of citizens in every community, city, and country around the world.

Noreen Curtin is Associate Director in Manchester and isn’t sure how often she wants her husband working from home.

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