Torching scares our seniors

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
The view from Geraldton Guardian reporter Geoff Vivian’s front door at 5am on Monday last week.
Camera IconThe view from Geraldton Guardian reporter Geoff Vivian’s front door at 5am on Monday last week. Credit: Geoff Vivian, The Geraldton Guardian

At 5am on Monday last week I woke up to see my car in flames, just outside my home.

I quickly called 131 444, and before the operator had finished taking my call, the fire truck had arrived and started putting out the blaze.

The story began a few hours earlier, just after midnight, when a young person knocked on my door asking me to call them a taxi to Spalding.

They also asked whether I had a car, which I ignored, and then whether I would light their cigarette, which I declined. Opening a security screen door to strangers after midnight is not a good policy.

Five minutes later I heard noises and looked out again to see that same person standing by my car.

Every few seconds the car’s indicator lights were flashing together, as though it had been tampered with. The young person said how surprised they were to see the lights flashing in that particular way, whereupon I told them I would be making a different kind of phone call if they did not p... off.

As this elicited a mouthful of abuse, I called the police, who came quickly and shone torches all around the old people’s village where I live, but of course the trespasser was long gone.

Yes, I live in an old people’s village where most of my neighbours are pensioners in their 70s and 80s.

A police forensics officer photographs the wreck of a burned out car at an old people's village in central Geraldton.
Camera IconA police forensics officer photographs the wreck of a burned out car at an old people's village in central Geraldton. Credit: Geoff Vivian, The Geraldton Guardian

Every day and night they see random people taking shortcuts through the village to save walking an extra 30 or 40 paces.

Losing my car is just an inconvenience.

I can make do with my bike for a few weeks while the insurance company settles my claim.

I have lived in much rougher places than central Geraldton and I am not easily upset by goings on in my neighbourhood.

But I wonder whether the people taking short cuts know, or care, how much they are upsetting my elderly neighbours.

Every time they see a stranger in the village, they must wonder whether those same people are going to return to break into their cars, or worse.

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