Sunday, November 18, 2007

Crime in Venice

Those of you who have come to visit me have heard me exclaim with wonderment and joy at the lack of crime in this city. It really is refreshing that there is no crime occasional pickpocket but that really is about it (unless you read Donna Leon's books, in which case, there is a murder here every week!). When one thinks about all the great art and fine jewels that are strewn about the city in churches and museums, you begin to realize how valuable Venice is (aside from its beauty and historical perspective). I often wonder why there are no guards stationed in these places as they have in the Louvre, etc. And why is it that things are being stolen from the Louvre with these guards in place and nothing happens here?

In my opinion the reason are varied. First, you are on a island, so there really isnt any place to run to! And because all the streets are so narrow and the residents are everywhere listening to the daily activity, you cant really remain anonymous during an altercation of some sort. (I often 'listen' to my neighbors arguments only because I dont really have a choice in the matter. Good practice on the Italian, right?!). Finally, when you enter the island you are immediately captured by the atmosphere of the 19th century (or earlier) and with that, its almost like everyone agrees to play nicely and just enjoy the beauty that is offered by this timeless city.

So, I find this story sad but also funny. In Venice, security in the Law Courts of the old town is a problem that is well-known to everyone. There is no closed-circuit television, and there are only four guards who patrol the vast palazzo. Anyone can go in without being searched and documents are stored in the corridors because the archives are full. The latest episode of this "malaise" took place last week, when a person, whose identity remains unknown, entered a chamber half an hour before a hearing was to take place, took two heavy folders from the table of one of the attorneys, and threw them out a window and into the Grand Canal, striking a man who was passing by in his boat and who alerted the authorities(courtesy of Bongiorno Venezia).

Its obvious that Venice cannot remain at this level of security for much longer, but I am amused that the worst that this man did was say, 'so there' and threw the papers into the water. A much more grand statement than violence, dont you think?!

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Ok i took a break for awhile but I am now completely caught up with your blog and I have found it very entertaining! Have a great time in Prague and a Happy Thanksgiving! If by any chance, Denise has any tips on attempting an American thanksgiving over here (maybe from past experience) let me know as I will be attempting it this week. Also, when you get back I might be asking you if you want to accompany me on a few day trips as I have been slacking lately... Talk to you soon!
oh PS. who is Marco?