Since the revolution, and the decrease in tourism, crime in Luxor has risen to scary heights! There are kidnappings at least every couple of weeks. Everything that can be stolen will be stolen. Women are easy targets as they all carry rather voluminous handbags, but men are also targets, especially for young women.
A couple of weeks ago we went to the old souk in Luxor to get our fibre supplies and we were standing at the counter. It’s only a kiosk really so people waiting for you to be served have to stand behind you; there is no other space. Omar, (husband) was standing beside me when a young woman and her mother came up and stood behind us in the queue. But suddenly Omar swung around to the woman behind him, grabbing his back pocket, where he had his wallet. “What are you doing?” he asked her loudly. He had felt her fingers in his back pocket, trying to take his wallet. She backed off, making excuses, embarrassed that he was confronting her in public. “You want to take my wallet?” he asked, and basically told her off. But he was shocked, shocked that it was a young woman, who he never imagined would do something like that! He was still shocked when we arrived home a hour later!
Today, he went to Luxor to get our monthly money out of the bank. He rang after he had taken it out of the ATM and as he was walking to the International Hospital to get some paperwork signed. A guy was following him from the bank and Omar was beginning to get worried. The young man followed him for quite some distance so he decided that he should jump in a service taxi for safety! That was the only way to evade the follower. He wouldn’t normally worry about things like this but after hearing so many stories lately about thieves he now tries to be a lot more vigilant. I don’t go out with my purse or passport anymore, it’s too unsafe.
The night before last he was in a private clinic with his nephew (whole other blog there!) who was having laser treatment and while they were sitting in the waiting room, which was full of people, a guy walked in, went to the wall with the air fan on it, calmly cut the wire connecting the fan to the wall plug, hoicked the fan over his shoulder and walked out. No-one said a word because they all assumed he belonged there, or that he was going to fix it.No…he was stealing it. That same night, the doctor, looking out of his office window, noticed another guy run off with one of his client’s motorbike. Again, he didn’t think anything of it initially because the guy just hunkered down, fiddled for a second with the motor, then got on the bike, started it up and rode away. It was only when the owner of the bike went to get his bike that all hell broke loose!!
This kind of crime is happening all the time here now. The man who owns the seed shop, around the corner from us, had his bike stolen too, from right outside his shop. However, he could not report it stolen, as he had bought it from someone who had stolen it from someone else! That’ll teach him!
But, lessons aside, it is becoming far more unsafe here, for the Egyptian’s themselves. With less money, they are turning to crime even more. Three people in this house alone have had all their wages stolen from them over the past few months. When you only earn 300 LE a month, the loss is huge! Even with all of the police and army guarding everything crime is on the rise. I’m not really sure what they are there for as they don’t actually do anything but smoke, mill about and chat to each other.
The army might be controlling the country again but the thieves are controlling the people! Time to tie everything down folks!
Luxor Souk: http://www.elizabethvercoe.com/EgyptPhotos1.html