Monday, September 14, 2009

Istanbul Story

Writing in City Journal, Claire Berlinski explores a mystery :

Istanbul’s streets don’t feel menacing. I rarely see drunks and never see crackheads, gangs of feral youths on street corners, or tattooed louts on the subways and buses. The panhandlers inspire pity, not fear. True, in some neighborhoods, the glue-sniffing street kids are dangerous; in others, hookers attract a louche clientele; pickpockets operate near the tourist attractions. But in the four years I’ve lived here, I’ve heard few firsthand stories of violent crime. The International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS), a worldwide poll of householders’ experiences with crime, confirms my impression that Istanbul is an exceptionally safe city. But perusing the ICVS data, I noticed something so odd that I mentioned it en passant to the editor of this magazine. “According to the ICVS,” I said, “Istanbul has the lowest rate of assault in Europe . . . but the highest rate of burglary, higher even than London.” I signed off with an innocent, “I wonder what this means?”


John said...

When I arrived in Korea in 1965 one of the stories I heard about the UN troops during the Korean Conflict was that the Turkish troops had no problems with "slickee boys," army slang for thieves. (We were told not to make a turn signal in Seoul wearing a wrist watch. And that during the war fresh asphalt laid during the day at an airstrip was stolen overnight.)

It seems the first thief from a Turkish camp was found dead the next day hanging near the entrance with chopsticks stuck in both ears.

Gives a whole new meaning to "deterrence." I guess reputation goes a long way toward security.

Michael Wade said...


The chopsticks would have definitely discouraged me!