The world is fascinated by crime and the people who commit it. Our fiction, television, cinema is, everything is about crime nowadays. They show, show after show from robberies to murders. But these shows have a little truth to them, for example, the way they go about solving the murder or robbery. The following examples we have found have none of this, they're simply laughably stupid crimes, that in all honesty shouldn't have even been attempted.
Whether you’re looking to make extra money and just need somewhere to stay for a while, working as a house-sitter can be beneficial in many different ways. Taking a house-sitting job allows you to live rent-free in the homeowners’ property, with the only caveat being that you have to take care of any business the owner needs taking care of, such as watering the plants, taking care of any pets and overseeing any maintenance work that needs doing. Here’s a few tips to help you land and enjoy a good house-sitting job...
1. Create a solid house-sitting CV that summarizes your experience and adequately shows off your skills. Your profile needs to be as comprehensive as possible- people are trusting you to stay in their homes after all- so the more information they can get on you the better. Make sure to include anything that paints you in a positive light- previous work experience, character references, a good photo and a few candid words about yourself; anything that helps paint a good impression of you.
2. Join a house-sitting website or two, and try and pick ones that focus on matching homeowners with clients, such as Global Guardians. These sites typically require a small membership fee to join, although the costs are usually a drop in the ocean compared to what you’ll save on accommodation further down the line. Most sites have worldwide opportunities; some focus on specific cities or regions whilst others specialize in offering various work placements as well as just house-sitting. Find the site that’s right for you, and make sure to check it regularly.
3. Once you’ve joined a house-sitting site or two make sure to stay abreast of any new notifications, and if a listing you like the look of pops up make sure you get in contact as soon as you can. Some homeowners can receive hundreds of applications for a listing, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of being noticed if your application is in the first bunch to be read. When messaging homeowners try and keep your message short and sweet- include just enough colour to make a positive first impression and make sure that your email links directly to your profile, where you can really go all out and start selling yourself.
4. Even though you want to keep your correspondence direct and straight to the point, it’s still important to let the homeowner know what you bring to the table and why they should hire you. Read over the listing carefully and make note of any special circumstances or specific requests you may be required to do, and then address these concerns head-on with the homeowner. Remember, don’t just talk about why you want to stay in their home, instead think about why the homeowner should want to hire you over all the other applicants. After all, no two house-sitting gigs are the same, so it’s essential that there’s an open dialogue between the sitter and the owner so that there’s no nasty surprises for either side down the line. This can easily be achieved via email or Skype before you go- just make sure you have all your bases covered before you depart.
5. If you’re still a bit unsure of what’s expected of you, consider entering into a written agreement with the client. This can be useful as it lays out everything that’s expected of you in black and white, so that there’s no risk of underperforming or miscommunication between you both. It also lets the homeowner consider everything they want from you- security, pet care, garden maintenance and so on, ad lets everybody involved in the arrangement know where they stand. You should also make sure you know what your financial responsibilities are- Are you being paid for the job? Are you expected to pay for bills and utilities? Are you allowed to use their car, and if so, do they expect the tank to be filled up? Nothing sours a relationship faster than a disagreement over money, so make sure such issues are dealt with as early as possible.
6. Lastly, no matter what happens make sure you’re flexible with your expectations, living standards and location, as this will greatly increase the chances of you enjoying yourself during your new gig. House-sitting is by nature a transient profession, so enjoy the experience while it lasts, and don’t waste the opportunity to savour experiencing a different side of life and a new culture- After all, that’s what travel is all about!
Sometimes in life we have to look on the funny side of things - here we have documented some of the funniest London street names - giving you a little giggle I'm sure!
Which is your favourite?
When you think of squatters, you often picture a group of lowly individuals who don’t have a choice. You imagine the homeless, addicts, the people who don’t belong, living in squalor without a penny to their name. However, squatting in Berlin has represented something of a different ilk since the 1970s in both the East and West, and even when the wall fell and reunited the two zones.
The squatting movement in Berlin is known as the ‘Hausbesetzerbewegung’ and can be traced back to the late 1960s. But the movement really took shape in the late 70s when West-Berliners occupied apartments in response to the housing crisis in the area. These squatters mostly took root in the districts of Kreuzberg and Schöneberg.
The second major wave of the movement was brought about by the fall of the iron curtain in 1989. As a power-vacuum manifested in government, East-Berliners saw this as their opportunity to take a stand. In 1990 more than 130 buildings were occupied in the former communist zone.
But why was squatting so important to the citizens of Germany’s capital?
There’s absolutely no questioning the fact that whether squatting became a financial necessity or not, squatters saw their actions as a political stance. The nature of East Germany’s communist government meant that the authorities were in control of the construction and maintenance of housing, as well as the allocation of housing.
However, for East-Berliners there was more dereliction than development as far as housing was concerned. To begin with, standards were relatively poor with only 30% of residences containing a toilet and 22% a bath in the 1950s. And by the 70s over 600,000 citizens remained on waiting lists for housing, and they had to wait for up to 8 years for housing to come through.
Although Honecker attempted a building programme during his time in power, this was largely unsuccessful. Further problems were caused by the fact that the government simply couldn’t meet the payments involved in construction and renovation. This meant that many properties were left ruined and empty. A secret report commissioned by the political party in charge of East Germany, the SED, found that there were as many as 235,000 empty properties across the country, found in major cities such as Berlin especially.
Historian Udo Grashoff has described the illegal occupation of buildings in this environment as ‘Schwarzwohnen’ (illegal living). Grashoff has also described the situation as something that was in no way small-scale movement, having involved thousands of East Germans in the 70s and 80s, and above all a phenomenon that was unique to the GDR. This is because although squatting remained illegal, it took pressure of the GDR government as citizens came off the housing waiting lists and partially redeveloped properties themselves.
Essentially, East German residents were taking control for themselves in a bid to meet their basic needs; thus taking some of the power away from government. This is what made the squatting movement an act of protest and resistance. The squatters or ‘Instandbesetzer’ best explain it themselves. In an underground magazine a group of squatters based in Prenzlauer Berg explained in 1988 that they had “occupied the house in order to overcome the contradiction between, on the one hand, the many vacant and decaying houses [in Berlin], and on the other, a growing number of people in search of housing.”
This post was created by Global Guardians, providing London with live-in property guardians for their residences.
Source: openDemocracy; Image: SPDP
So you think you’ve got the balls to commit a crime? Well, being a criminal is much harder work than you might think as this silly bunch found out:
1 The deaf robber who couldn’t hear the alarm going off
Klaus Schmidt walked into a Berlin bank in August 1995 hoping to steal some cash. He seemed well prepared with his pistol and aggressive tone. Yet the bankers noticed something a little odd halfway through the robbery.
When one of them asked Schmidt if he needed a bag, the ‘robber’ replied “You’re damn right it’s a real gun!” Upon hearing this they realised that Schmidt was deaf. So when one of the employees set off a loud alarm, the deaf thief was none the wiser! He was obviously arrested soon after. But wait, there’s more... Schmidt tried to sue the bank for taking advantage of his disability.
2 The robber who called in advance
Albert Bailey and an accomplice attempted to rob a bank in Conneticut back in 2010. But it seems that Bailey wanted to waste no time during the theft. So obviously he decided to call up the bank in advance to inform them of their impending arrival. This way they could bag up the money for them and the thieves could just walk out easy peasy.
Bailey proceeded to send his accomplice along to the bank with a note, just to make sure they really were ready. It’s safe to say the police were waiting for them at the bank when they finally did arrive. The thieves demanded $100,000 but all they got was a potential jail sentence of 9 years.
3 The robbers who used a getaway donkey
So the first crime on the list for a group of Columbian criminals was abducting a donkey named Xavi. 12 hours later the group carried out a robbery at a convenience store before packing their stolen wares onto the 10-year-old donkey. Although the local police were unaware of the crime they were soon alerted when Xavi the donkey decided to play up and make lots of noise.
When some nearby police officers headed over to the gang and their donkey, the thieves ran away leaving their loot behind. You would think that if the guys were going to steal something to make their getaway in it would be a car... or even a bicycle would have been better.
Unfortunately, not all criminals are this dumb. There were over 3.5 million crimes committed in the UK last year. Everyone of us should make sure there are measures in place to protect our familes, ourselves, our homes and businesses. So why not try hiring a property guardian from Global Guardians to protect your vacant property?
Image: Yumi Kimura