Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Crime fighters must be seen in action

On Sunday, thieves broke into the office of Datuk Lee Chong Wei at Bandar Puteri Puchong and carted away several computers, including one which contained the pre-wedding pictures of Chong Wei and former national shuttler Wong Mew Choo.

Chong Wei is currently away in Odense for the Denmark Open and has promised not to let this incident affect his performance, nor his big day on Nov 10.

Because Chong Wei is a national icon and celebrity, this report will certainly generate more attention than other reports of break-ins and petty crimes.

Last week, three parang-wielding men attacked an 18-year-old teenager in front of his house and drove off with his Myvi. The incident was recorded by four CCTVs installed at the home in Subang Jaya.

In The Star itself, one senior editor was a recent victim of carjacking, losing his new car just a short distance from his house. Another senior manager was traumatised last week when four masked men robbed her at home just as she and her family were settling down to have dinner.

For the middle class in the major towns and suburbs, who are not able to afford high-level security protection for property and self, the issue of feeling safe, not just in the streets or in the shopping malls, but also in the homes, is a serious matter.

Based on anecdotal evidence, we are not wrong to suggest that we have reached a stage where everyone knows someone personally who has been a victim of such crimes.

What is perhaps also disturbing is that in most of these instances, the victims have resigned themselves to the fact that these incidents are normal, and part of our everyday lives. And they are simply thankful that their lives are not endangered.

Every newspaper has a crime beat where the reporters try their best to report on such incidents. But in reality, it is not possible to record everything. This problem is further compounded by the fact that many victims do not report the incidents, so even information released at police press conferences may not fully reflect the actual situation.

That and public apathy has been the repeated explanation as to why the statistics do not match public perception of rising crime.

But for those who do report, they say the police are aware there is more crime; the frontliners taking down the reports are almost numb to the situation because they are dealing with so many cases.

With social media, such experiences spread fast and wild and with it, dissatisfaction and anger.

So, while we the people can indeed do more to be the eyes and ears for each other to try to foil criminal activity, the harsh reality is that the authorities must not only be doing their job, but must be seen to be doing their job. Fixing more security cameras in public places can only go so far; what is desperately needed is enhanced police presence and action.


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