To the left of
frame, a feminine hand is pressing a button. Presumably this alerts the
police. When they find the homeowner's body, they'll wonder why she didn't
simply throw herself against the door, thus crushing the burglar's wrist.
It doesn't look like the hand of a burglar. In 1983 people in Britain were
not allowed to own firearms with which to defend themselves. If you were
old and a knifeman was coming through the door, that's it, you were dead.
Less of a burden on the public purse, and a young family could have the
house thereafter. Britain's firearms laws stem from the rise of Communism,
fascism and the working class in the 1920s and 1930s, and have remained in
force ever since, on account of the danger from terrorism, and the fact
that guns are no longer too expensive for the riff-raff to purchase
(although a shotgun from Holland & Holland will
set you back around £45,000!). The rampages of Michael Ryan and Thomas
Hamilton did not help the image of shooting in the UK, although it is
interesting to speculate how far Ryan would have got if the people of
Hungerford had owned shotguns, or small-calibre pistols. As for Hamilton,
he could have done as much damage with a petrol bomb, and for that you
just need petrol, oil, a bottle, and a sock. And some matches, or a
I don't know whether crime actually was proportionately
more common in 1983 than it was in 1963. I don't think that anybody at the
time would have been reassured by the security measures in the picture.
Crime has continued to increase, which I suppose is the price of having a
much more liberal society than in 1983 (at the time, the police were
alowed to make arrests, and judges actually sentenced people to
prison, can you imagine that?).
The 'equipment' mentioned in
the caption appears to be some kind of motion sensor, which again is not
much use for self-defence. Remember that in 1983 very few people had
mobile phones, and indeed some people in rural locations - such as my own
family - did not own a phone, period.