home burglaries (up 12.5% in 2011) and muggings (up 33% in 2011) but if you get your bag nicked and returned minus the cash who's going to report that?
This was definitely the case when someone stole from my handbag last Friday. I was sitting in a rather nice pub in Montpellier - le Beehive - my bag down by my feet against a wall, and a shopping bag behind me blocking its exit.
In spite of being in a protected spot, when I got up for a minute or two to look at the menu board a couple of metres away, someone took advantage of my inattention and stole my wallet and my Kindle. S/he also stole some stamps (with vegetables on them); the ones you use to post letters to France, but not the other ones for the rest of Europe.
It's a British pub, so many people there were Anglo-Saxons, and as it wasn't very busy, they were all sitting at tables enjoying their drink and some were eating something tasty from the menu. The waiting staff is mostly British and there's a Dutch woman there too. All very nice and polite, and moving about the pub clearing up and serving.
I was pretty distressed to find my wallet and Kindle nicked. My credit cards were not in my wallet, but my driving licence was, plus car and insurance papers, an old carte de séjour and various other bits and bobs. Everything was there to steal my identity if someone so wanted.
The staff were most concerned, naturally, but as I was still able to pay my bill, the situation didn't get out of hand. I left my number 'just in case the items turned up'.
Funnily enough, they did. I went to pick them up the next morning. The cash had been stolen, as had the stamps. My Kindle is only an e-reader, not a tablet, so of no use to a thief (thankfully!). Both items were found stuffed behind the loo in the ladies. I was relieved to get almost everything back, not least because it meant I didn't have to start on the process of renewing all the paperwork and worry about id theft.
When I got back to the tram station where I'd left my car I saw a bunch of gendarmes. I went up to one and told her what had happened. I asked if it was of interest to them that I report the theft (for the sake of statistics). She shrugged and said I could do what I liked, and I understood they didn't give a toss.
So who knows how much petty theft is going on. I now know that the friend of a friend had had her purse stolen in the same pub, le Beehive, just the previous week. It's a nice pub, but I won't be going back. Not until they sort out the thieving, whoever it turns out to be.