We had a big warning from friends in the village that there is a big crime wave right now and that we should really stay at the farmhouse full time if we want to ensure the house isn't broken into and pillaged. There have been many break ins locally with empty expatriate holiday homes, that stand out like a sore thumb with the rich picking that lay in wait. It's not only expatriate homes that area t risk, any empty home that these thieves find are at risk. This has always been the case in Bulgarian villages.
The threat of roaming gypsies that see opportunities of stealing from empty homes remains. The problem now is that it is not only gypsies that are the problem. With the worldwide recession hitting hard, many Bulgarians have lost their jobs both home and abroad. They are now desperate for money and turn to stealing to feed their families. The villages are excellent picking points as many of these 'forced criminals' now travel from village to village to prey on homes that beckon.
The homes that are at greatest risk of course are the expatiate holiday homes. These are not occupied for 90% on the time and they really to represent a major haul once broken into. In the villages security for these places are normally thin on the ground as it used to be a low risk area and it is only neighbours that act as an deterrent.
My neighbour has now spread the word in the that I am living there full time and occasionally pop into Yambol for business. I have been advised to keep an outdoor lights on at all times and get another dog to put in the yard. This will reduce the risk substantially.
Now I live in an road that goes nowhere, there is no passing traffic as such other than local villages on their way to the dumping grounds with their rubbish. My house is not visible from the main road and my renovations are such that it still looks like a typical Bulgarian home from the outside and the garden cultivated in typical Bulgarian fashion. Even if you pass my home, it still looks like Bulgarians that live there, this is a good insurance.
I know many expatriate houses that are so obviously done out in non-Bulgarian style that you would need to be an idiot not to realise that Bulgarians don't live there. Even if you were blind you would still know that this was not a Bulgarian home as there wouldn't be a barking dog as you approach.
So the bottom line is that crime is on the increase due to the world recession, even more so in the villages that are so vulnerable. Tougher security is needed to combat this, let's hope that the recession subsides and that the crime rate falls alongside this. Such a shame that another element of crime in Bulgaria villages that was almost non existent is on a changing platform.