Thursday, February 28, 2008

Under control

A couple of weeks ago, the side rear view mirrors on both sides of my car were stolen. My car was parked in the centre of town just outside the Kigali city administration and opposite the restaurant of a friend of mine.

has an extremely low crime rate, especially in the built-up areas. This is basically because in a small police state with a high population density, it is easy to completely control and know most things that happen. Occasionally though, someone will get away with a minor theft. But that doesn’t mean that the crime wasn’t noticed…

So how does one handle the rear view mirror situation in Kigali? Well first, I ask the owner of the restaurant to ask his cooks whether they can’t buy the mirrors straight back from the thieves at a discount. Normally, this would work, as everyone knows everyone. After a few days however, it seems that the thief was not a friend of the locals. A little surprised I try my second option: I phone the car garage. They ask me where and when my mirrors were stolen. Two days later, they magically have my mirrors waiting for me at the garage. I buy them back at 25 dollars a piece.

I some strange way, everything seems to be under control here, and even petty crime has a clear system.

Of course, a controlled and ordered state is not necessarily a stable one. That is an entirely different debate.

No comments: