‘We Are All Burglars’
In 1965, London-based Turkish-Cypriot author Taner Baybars’ novel A Trap for the Burglar portrayed a metropolitan couple whose marriage was disintegrating through the constant fear of burglary that ruled their lives, eventually making them suspect each other of being the thief. Its motifs of the psycho-sexual trauma inherent in the burglar’s interference in their happy existence anticipated the new legislation enforced under the Theft Act 1968 (still in use today), which explicitly sought to entwine the issues of burglary and rape. Creating a new, severer penalty for burglary-with-rape, it constituted this phenomenon as a distinctive, more serious strand of criminal enterprise. The epilogue considers the legacy of these shifts into the late twentieth century. Night Raiders has sought to demonstrate the depths to which burglary penetrated into the everyday lives of Londoners between 1860 and 1968. Even those who had no direct experience of being burgled were touched by the crime, whether through the accumulation of sensational stories of dramatic burglaries in the press, theatre, and on film, or through the integration of anti-burglar technologies around their homes. Walking around the city at night, catching glimpse of a broken rooftile or a sudden movement near the perimeter of a house, both residents and police would have likely turned their thoughts to thieves.
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