I study criminology – as an academic pursuit.
But crime itself is also something which we need to be aware of in everyday life. It affects the way we do things and could potentially cause life-changes. A recent Eurostar journey from London to Brussels exemplifies how we need to be aware of, but not afraid of, crime.
When booking the tickets one must be aware of cybercrime: cover your PIN; don’t let anyone take the card out of sight; don’t reveal your details. Whilst moving around the station be aware of pickpockets and of ‘people acting suspiciously,’ as the announcements inform us so to do. We are then ordered through passport control, through security screening, through body searches and a knife arch. Stowing our luggage on the train where we can be aware of it. Never moving too far from it that might be construed as abandoning it. After all: ‘it may be removed or destroyed by the security services’ (an announcement again). Approaching Bruxelles Gare du Midi we are told to avoid touts, pickpockets and vagrants at the station. Outside the station a notice tells us ‘only to use licensed taxis‘. As a general reminder we are informed of ‘stranger danger’, not to use back streets and to keep our bags and wallets safe. And … we have to do all of this again on the return journey!
The potential to be victim of crime is everywhere. Studying criminology does not make one immune to crime, but it does offer perspectives on its causes, sanctions and policies. For those of us who want to make security or criminology a career path, the realisation of the overlap between the academic and the everyday is an important one.