Why is there so little crime in Iceland

Instagram has this tricky question covered.

Because it could be because of the amazing actions of this lot.

Or it could be for another reason:

Sadly, plenty of words rhyme with “Misdaad”, which perhaps goes some way to explaining the somewhat out of control crime situation, locally.
Other question: Can my blogging software handle the letter “Ash” in the middle of “glæpur”?

Apparently so. I’ll be checking on some other Icelandic alphabetical vagaries (including “the five lost letters of the English language“) in the near future.

Keep it simple

Fine advice from the US National Park Service:

We have a lot of SA National Park in and around Cape Town. That’s a real privilege, but it’s also not all it’s cracked up to be. Go to a popular spot at peak time and you might as well be in the city. But take the above advice and go to a less crowded spot (or a crowded spot at a less crowded time) anywhere in the Table Mountain National Park, and you’re (potentially) asking for trouble.


We’re all advised on websites and on the trails themselves to make sure that we’re not alone, but much like the Eskom situation, there shouldn’t have to be normalisation, acceptance and victim blaming with this sort of thing. More should be being done to prevent these problems from happening, rather than (just) us having to change our behaviour because the authorities can’t guarantee our safety and/or electricity supply.

For balance, can I also point out that this is an urban park problem. The chances of you being mugged in – for example – the Agulhas National Park, are pretty much zero, no matter how alone you are.
But on the down side: no big, flat mountain.

Some tweets

Various subjects. As you’ll read.

First up: Covid (of course).

People go to a festival, think they’re safe because “it’s outdoors” (except the shared car journeys, the indoor bits, the bars and the densely crowded, close contact bits), and then they contract an extremely infectious virus.

It’s nothing new.

We’re told that it’s sociology, rather than epidemiology or microbiology that tells us when a pandemic is over. And looking at things sociologically, in many cases – like the festival(s) above – behaviour has returned to normal. Except, if the pandemic is over, why are so many people still getting infected with the causal agent? And this in summer, as well.
Wider society might think we’re done with Covid. The medical experts will tell you differently.

Crime: It’s a huge problem in South Africa. How do we solve it?

It’s not so difficult, apparently:

Actually, it’s been staring us in the face all the time. Rather than increasing policing, relying on better intelligence or working on active rehabilitation of offenders, people should just stop stealing. Then the crime numbers would come down.

You can’t fault his logic. And if we can make it work on theft, then surely robbery, assault and murder should be addressed in the same way.

Just do less of it.

Crime: Sorted.

Photography: The trouble with it being free.

There is indeed a lot of “vapid shit” in the photography sections of the internet. (And to be fair, in a lot of other sections as well.) But, aside from asking people to produce less of it (see above tactic), would having to pay for trendy, hipster, retro film – like we used to have to do – make people care more?


But, it would also price many people out of the photography game. And we would miss out on a lot of talent because of that. And so the best way is not to make a return to the “good old days” of film and cassette, but rather to champion and support and share the really good work out there.

And yes, maybe occasionally take the piss out of the really horrific stuff, just for balance.


Same Sh*t, Different Saturday.

Stayed up too late watching footy. Maybe a brandy. Maybe two.

Wake late after remarkable dreams of Winston Churchill doing a speech before we all had to hide from an impending air raid. I have no idea either. Wander downstairs. Coffee. Check in with the neighbourhood whatsapp group on the break-ins last night. Four. Great. Breakfast. Paint the laundry. As you do. Just the bit behind the beer fridge and the washing machine. No-one sees it anyway. Revise maths and history with the boy. uMkhonto weSizwe. Lilliesleaf. The Rivonia Trial. Pythagoras. And the train that leaves Edinburgh for London at a certain time and a certain speed. You know the rest. No replacement bus service. Remarkable. Get stung by a bee. Bastard. Gym. Because when your 13 year old wants to do something not involving a screen, you jump at the opportunity. Miles and miles on the static bike. Not quite Edinburgh to London, but still. Heart rate up to 183. Another hour of lifting, stretching, sprinting, sweating, dying. Home now and legs a bit hurty if I’m completely honest. I’m usually always completely honest. Considering motivating for UberEats tonight. We deserve it.

Might stay up too late watching footy. Maybe a brandy. Maybe two.

Beagle watch

Today, I learned that there is a security company in Gauteng called Beagle Watch. I have a number of issues with this.

To the uitlanders, allow me to explain. Here in SA, many people have their house alarms connected to an armed response security company. That means that when your alarm goes off – most likely because you forgot to switch it off before letting the dog out – a friendly man with a gun will show up at your door in case you’re in trouble. I’ve actually yet to hear a story of anyone actually being saved by the friendly man with a gun, but perception is everything and if it helps you sleep more soundly at night to pay a man with a gun to be on-call, then that’s great.

There are all the usual suspects (pun intended) on the scene: ADT, Princeton, Fidelity, Chubb. And then there are the regional services as well. They claim to understand the local crime problems better than the bigger, less personal entities. One of these local offerings is Beagle Watch in Randburg:

Response Time

The best in class response times! No matter what the emergency, Beagle Watch will be there first!

A Dedicated Team

Proactive security is our focus – we are the only company dedicated to the prevention of crime in your area through continuous, 24 hour, high visibility patrols.

Continuous and 24 hour. Colour me impressed.

But when you choose an animal to name your security company after, you want one that’s ever-vigilant, alert, attentive, powerful and quick to react.

I have a beagle. It’s really none of those things.

And so the name really doesn’t instill any sense of confidence in me. I’m only warning them about this after the well-documented collapse of Sloth Security in Constantia back in 2013.

The badge is also a problem:

It’s like they got an 8-year-old to draw a beagle. Three beagles.

Beagles do have moments where their senses are piqued and they’re ready for action. These moments usually relate to seeing a squirrel in the park and generally only last for 3 or 4 seconds. But a key feature of a momentarily alert beagle is the elevated tail. This is an evolutionary hangover from when they used to be powered by electricity, much like dodgem cars. Also, they always face left when they are ready to go. See?

Squirrel-spotting beagle

A beagle with a tail as depicted in the Beagle Watch logo is depressed, tired or depressed and tired and is certainly not going to offer any resistance to local criminals.

Also, you’d never get three to line up in such an orderly fashion. At least one would already be asleep or foraging for food.

My suggestion to Beagle Watch (and I will be forwarding them a link to this post so that they realise their error in nomenclature), is that they change the name of the business, soonest. And it doesn’t have to be a train smash of process. A simple, carefully applied daub of black paint on each of their vehicles turns Beagle Watch into bEagle Watch: the genus Aquila possessing all of the qualities one looks for in a neighbourhood security company. And they also have an aggressive beak and talons, filling the crims with a sense of fear and dread. Everything that a beagle doesn’t.

Mark my words: you can watch the crime rate in Randburg drop like the proverbial stone.

I’m frankly amazed that no-one has come up with this idea before.