January 24, 2011

Public telephones and the crime wave

Not really anything to do with British phones, but this article in yesterday's Berliner Zeitung caught my eye.  

Vandals have been systematically attacking public phones throughout Berlin and stealing the coins they contain.  Seven attacks in one area alone were reported yesterday.  Culprits seem to target a particular competitor of Telekom, known around the city for its distinctive blue telephones.  They offer particularly good value rates for overseas calls and, therefore, are favoured by the immigrant population.  They are probably cheaper than mobile phone rates, too.  

Since these phones only accept coins, it's logical that they are usually stuffed full of ready cash.  Most of the Telekom phones need a credit or phone card.  Eighty phones in the past month have been rendered useless and the company with the blue phones says it is in danger of going bust; it is finding it hard to replace so many damaged pay phones with new ones.

If you are a cynic, you will say that the competition is trying to oust out a rival.  Would they stoop so low?  I cannot say.  But, in a city where hoards of people scrounge the streets daily for empty beer bottles in order to collect the deposit, then you simply don't leave a box full of coins lying around all night long.

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Digital Telephone Book by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.