Saturday, July 19, 2008

Knife Life

I've just got back from a holiday (I wonder how much longer I can keep saying that without sounding like I'm in denial at being back in the Real World...) to the news of yet more stabbings in the grimy inner cities of the UK. Except it's not just the grimy inner cities; apparently the problem is nationwide. Wary as I am of media fear-mongering, this does make me feel slightly concerned. Are all those nice, middle-class, blazered children wandering round the sweet shops and parks of Oxford on weekday afternoons actually knife-wielding potential murderers? Are those lovely child actors in the local theatre productions actually producing a double act? What about those angelic choirboys who sing the Lord's praises from Magdalen tower on May morning? Surely the statistics can't apply to them as well?

In general, Oxford doesn't seem too bad for crime. I'm sure someone will come along and correct me now, but violent crime seems to be limited to the odd attack on a canal towpath, the not-so-odd sexual attack on Cowley Road (okay, so that's a problem), and fights with bouncers at Filth. Despite all the community bulletins about carrying personal alarms, never going out alone, etc etc that hark back to Victorian times, I rarely feel at risk in Oxford. Perhaps that's because I cycle, and I cycle fast, so I can generally escape any potential danger, if I notice it at all. Perhaps it's because I'm usually back home before all the trouble starts - Oxford at midnight on a Friday night is still full of hustle and bustle. Or perhaps I just don't go to the dodgy areas, if there are any.

Sod's law says I'm now going to get mugged, but for the meantime I'll stick to being uber paranoid that someone will steal my bike lock (undoubtedly worth more than my battered bike) or that I'll leave all the food I just bought on the till as I merrily leave the supermarket.

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