Christmas spirit sadly lacking: police

Dunedin police say the Yuletide spirit was lacking in the city on Christmas Day, with officers dealing with a disappointing amount of criminal activity.

Senior Sergeant Kelvin Lloyd said the criminal activity started off with a suspicious fire next to a metal skip in Port Chalmers at 4.30am and then another which destroyed the Waitati bus shelter not long after.

At 5.30am police responded to reports of offenders throwing bricks and rocks through car windows in South Dunedin. Offenders had also broken into cars and taken items in the Kirkcaldy St area, Snr Sgt Lloyd said. He said the Christmas spirit ''seemed to be sadly lacking in Dunedin'' with the amount of offending reported similar to a normal weekday.

''We were disappointed with the amount of criminal offending that was happening on Christmas Day. It was really disappointing to see that we could not manage a relatively crime-free day on what should be one of the quietest days of the year for us,'' he said.

Dad's Army?

I don't think that anyone ever considered, for a moment, that the 'Compulsory Military Trainees' of the 1950s were going to make the North Koreans and other 'Commies' quake in their boots, much less turn tail and flee. But, it was a rude awakening to soft-as-butter youths who had never-before done their own washing or ironing or similar things.

Its value was that for the first time in many self-centred lives, people learned that there were considerations in life which went beyond those of merely 'self'. Those things go back in history, to small-scale communal living and collective responsibility for the defence of small communities, etc. in which everyone was required to play whatever part they were capable of playing.

And, a word of advice to the wimpy lot of today. Shake free from your dependence upon electronic 'everything' and learn to function as a stand-alone human being; before, one day, you find yourself devoid of all your electronic 'props' and crutches and simply unable to cope. Life is much more fun, if you don't have to be addicted to noise being pumped into your ears 24/7; besides which, it may one day save you from walking in front of a bus, that you could neither see, nor hear coming. [abridged]

 

Cadet training

I too remember school 'barracks' - if marching around in scratchy woollen uniforms on the hottest days of summer then standing at attention until people started to faint somehow could repel invaders we were ready and trained, much as farmers use fainting goats to save their sheep from wolves.

On the other hand if shooting was somehow involved we had been allowed to shoot three bullets a year, a bunch of crack shots I'm sure, ready to save the city from the hordes of cruise ship tourists.

Cadet training was forced on us in a previous age to set us up as future cannon fodder for the British, as Kiwis had been used in previous generations; luckily for me by then however we were growing our own national identity and no longer needed to spend our son's blood to hold on to an old one.

Even older

Search me. Im not reading Criminology this year. But those that don't do crime are not crims, whatever age they are. Of course we may one day live in a dystopia where people will be caught for being young, old, beneficiary, superannuitant, or critic.

Schools militia ensured collective security

Absolutely, Ian, then 'collective' became out of favour with the neo liberal individualist model. I recall School Cadet training, rather than CMT. Effectively, we became a very young paramilitary unit. Whether the townsfolk felt secure because of it is another matter, and we were never called upon to regulate martial law or repel invaders.

Intergenerational differences

I grew up in the 1950's, and one thing which straightened me out, as well as a lot of others, was Compulsory Miltary Training, where we were made aware that there were times when the individual had to take second-place to the collective security of society as a whole.

Today's little 'scrotes' see themselves as accountable to no-one, and feel free in any adverse situation to simply 'lose it', as with the recent episode in  Dargaville. Property crime, by burglary and the like, is excused on the grounds that 'it's only property crime', implying that if no-one is hurt/killed in it's commission, anyone's property is fair-game, nothing is sancrosanct, anymore.

My generation got 'legless', frequently, but being in that state and wrecking other people's property, rarely happened. Even in my flatting days in North Dunedin, when someone dropped a bottle of beer and it shattered, someone else in the group always saw to it that the shards of broken glass were picked up, and if not disposed of in a rubbish receptacle, at least placed somewhere where they would be of no danger to anyone; which is light years removed, from driving around Dunedin's residential suburbs firing broken bottles into the kerb from moving vehicles or scoring extra 'brownie-points', by scoring a direct hit on a shop window, or shattering them against someone's concrete fence.

Old crims

"There are plenty of really old crims around," observes ffolkes.  Possibly true, but it's hard to tell because reports from Court are largely of young people.  Are old crims too smart to be caught, ffolkes?  Maybe they don't indulge in such stupid lawbreaking.

Agree completely

Yes I agree completely - the complete lack of discipline at home and in the schools has a huge part to play. I am in favour of strong, fair discipline. This is how I was raised and how my son is raised. He is polite and well mannered, a rare thing these days!

Criminal demographics

True, but we dont know the ages of these particular offenders. There are plenty of really old crims around.

Not the police's fault

@scubadoo: You will find that over the years young people have had no respect for anyone, all they think of is themselves. It is not like when I was young where we respected anyone in authority and also always respected our elders . . . they don't now. But when I was young there was better discipline in the home and schools, now everyone is too scared to give out the right punishment, which results in what we have now in society.

Crime levels

What Dunedin and New Zealand needs is a less accepting society backed up by a fair but effective Police Force.

For the sake of the future there needs to be a Police Force which commands more respect. The general public should not feel predisposed to argue with the Police when caught out. Police should have a level of absolute authority.

Of course the Police need to earn and command that respect and position, which sadly they often do not.

Hence the resultant problems with the attitudes of the public towards the Police!

What do they expect!!

I am really surprised that there is not more offending as when and if they get caught, very little is done to them.

Crime in the city

It's not your fault, Snr Sgt, it's the crims who couldn't manage a crime-free day. But we could drop the myth that Dunedin is safer than other cities.

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