Ms. Hedemann: In Ireland you left the doors open. I remember as a child, going to Mass in the country when I was a small child, no one locked their doors.
Mr. Hedemann: And the churches themselves were open 24 hours a day. No one would ever think of pinching anything from a church. The doors were open all the time.
Me: Why do you think there was so little crime?
Mr. Hedemann: We’re an honest people, and everybody knew everybody anyway, particularly in the country.
Mrs. Hedemann: It wasn’t something you did; it would be a very strange occurrence.
Me: I mean, was it more that children were raised with a different set of values, or that everyone knew each other, or that no one had anything to take?
Mr. Hedemann: I think the last two, everybody knew everybody and nobody had anything.
Ms. Hedemann: Nobody had much, but no matter how little you had, everybody had something of some value, even if only kitchen utensils.
There was just an ethos; people just weren’t that way. But Ireland was virtually crime-free around 1900; I remember seeing the statistics. Virtually crime-free. It would be absolutely astonishing to people today. You had the odd murder coming up, but these were all crimes of passion. Certainly there were no drugs, which is the bane nowadays.
-- My interview with Mr. and Ms. Hedemann, August 2010.