It is a great challenge to report a home burglary to the Italian police, starting with selecting the right police force.
Last week someone stole our electric current by pulling a wire connecting the house with Enel’s installations by the gate out of the ground and cutting it off. It cost us a cold night with no light and no water along with a day’s work and a bill of 77 Euros for replacements and reinstallations.
Three days later at 9 pm, the electricity disappeared again, and knowing the procedure I tried to contact Enel, but was continuously cut off by the voice-response diy telephone service, which – it appears – does not accept calls from mobile phones. In other words, we had to spend another cold night without light or water, before a friend in town with a permanent phone could alert the electricity company. This time the burglars had stolen Enel’s main supply line to the area. Presumably, to get hold of the copper wire inside the cable. That is what I would call a power cut.
The entire neighbourhood was enraged.
– We should all report this in order to make the police take the problem seriously and check up on the vagrants sneaking about out here. All the time something is stolen from rural houses, and although the cost of the stolen goods may seem insignificant, it does give us a lot of bother, was the general opinion.
So in an act of solidarity and good citizenship, we stopped by the Polizia Municipale to report the burglary. The polizotto was very sympathetic, but he had to refer us to the carabinieri, where another uniformed gentleman with impressive headgear, accepted our complaint, but…
-I would like to make a formal report, but I cannot. Prima, because your neighbourhood is in another municipality, which means that it is outside of our jurisdiction. And Seconda, because our computer system is down, and no one can report anything right now – this is not our fault, but something that has gone wrong in Roma. So you should report this to the police in the next town, but wait a few days until their computers are up and running.
The response appalled people in the countryside:
– Ma dai, one of them shouted, how can the carabinieri say this is not their jurisdiction, when we have an emergency. What if someone snatched an old lady’s handbag and ran across the street to another municipality. Would the carabinieri stop the pursuit in the middle of the street, and say sorry, not our jurisdiction?
– What kind of help is this? He asked performing a pantomime of bag snatching, running, pursuing and stopping short before crossing an invisible boundary. He went on to imitate a man with a heart attack, who could not receive medical help from a doctor from another municipality.
By then the drama turned into a joke, but still, the neighbour had made his point.
More on various aspects of daily life in Italy like home burglary.
Living outside the water supply grid