Inside this week | High crime rate a low concern
From May 1, I will have been here ten years. Previously I lived in Southeast London, also for a decade. And it is curious to note that during my time here I have been a victim of crime five times (see G3 for details of The Illegal Trilogy, a dance piece that addresses the criminal industries of human trafficking, arms smuggling and drugs), while in London I never knowingly (there were assaults while I was intoxicated, but I’m not sure I had a good defence) had that privilege.
However, there is a good reason for this, and it reflects well on Denmark. I am very relaxed. A fellow “chilled-out entertainer”, David Brent might say. Life here is a breeze compared to the one I led in the likes of New Cross, Lewisham and Brockley (pre-1994 when they closed down one pub and the crime rate went down by 85 percent overnight, precipitating gentrification in the flash of an eye).
I have never once approached a dark alley, or a shifty individual on Istedgade (where I live, in the middle of the red light district), and thought: “Don’t look like a victim; be prepared to run; no-one expects to be stabbed in the throat by a bunch of keys – except perhaps Joe Pesci.”
And when I visit the Danish countryside, I don’t feel myself unwinding from the cauldron of the city and regarding everyone else as a donkey because I’m Shergar (before he was shot). I just find it boring.
But with this relaxation comes carelessness. Twice I have left my jacket in the changing room where I play football, and thrice (okay, probably a thousand times) I have left my bike unlocked. One such occasion occurred last Thursday. When I found my coat (previously they had stolen that as well – thank God for fashion-conscious thieves), it was missing my phone. When I return next week, I’m going to tape the charger to the hook with a few choice words. It will be fun.
But am I annoyed? Not really, I was insured and losing all my numbers feels like a relief. Do I curse the crime-ridden Danish state? Nah, the police are hopeless but the streets are safe – how many cities can truly say that? Will I be more vigilant? No, I’m enjoying myself too much being blasé.