Still relatively a safe place to live
YEARS ago visiting Londoners were mocked for locking their cars in North Cyprus, but times have changed and locals now wistfully remember times when the doors and windows of their homes were routinely left ajar.
Those were the days when no-one got past your neighbours and everyone knew everyone anyway.
Now a young couple have found their car window blatantly smashed in Girne’s municipal car park and the have-a-go husband was lucky not to have been knifed.
Supermarket employees are being mugged for the takings, while smash and grabs, bag theft and crimes against women, are on the up, it seems.
Locals have long called for passport-only entry from Turkey, rather than by ID card.
No doubt they will also welcome the new installation of 360-degree CCTV cameras now that the last generation of old lady “wardens” no longer sit on their balconies with an eagle eye on passers-by.
But is this perception or reality?
Anyone who routinely uses Girne’s Baldöken car park will be well aware that it has become the last place of refuge for those who have fallen through the social net, whether they are homeless, jobless, drunk or mentally ill.
However, anyone who has been back to the UK recently, or read the papers, will find it small beer. There, people are being wounded or even dying for a moped — even police officers — and that’s before the dire predictions for life postBrexit.
They do say that North Cyprus is 30 years behind the times, so let’s hope that the current desperate economic crisis does not continue to breaking point.
New social awareness, government programmes for youth, women and families and efforts by civil society are helping to save some in society from a life of crime.
North Cyprus is still a relatively safe place to live, make no mistake — though when offenders manage to get across the border you can whistle for justice until politicians find a solution.