I just spoke to a friend who had her house broken into the other night – while her whole family was asleep in their beds. Anyway, barking dogs woke the family up, and the noise scared the thieves off, but not before the robbers could make away with a few laptops. The next morning, when her husband went to the police to report the crime, their first question was: Did the thieves leave a number?
Apparently, thieves have been breaking and entering into peoples’ houses, making off with their goods and then offering to sell the goods back to them. Rumors have it getting your laptop returned to you will only set you back around 100.000 FCFA, about $240. The reason for this, my friend says, is that thieves usually have to sell the purloined laptops out of the country to make a profit. So they may as well cut their losses and sell the computers back to their happy owners.
March, April and May have always been the toughest months in Burkina Faso – the hungry months as they say because the stock from last year’s harvest is getting thin and this year’s harvest hasn’t been planted yet. Young village men are also often just waiting for the rains to start so they can plant. These guys often end up in Ouagadougou looking to see if they can make a few extra CFAs doing odd jobs, making life a little worse for those permanently in town doing odd jobs.
Call it a domino effect, but (anecdotally at least) crime seems worse during these hot months. This year, of course, everything is different because everybody is hurting due to the high price of food and other goods.