Friday, February 25, 2005

Despairing times for crime

Everyday I open up the papers and the news that greet me is often grim. Front page articles are plastered with the latest news of murder, rape, robbery, accidents, incest, arson, shootings, gang fights and kidnapping. The recent two murders have left me shaken and an all time confidence loss in the ability of our police personnels in curbing crime within Malaysia. It sends a feeling of dread that our daily life is no longer safe and that our every other day might see us being confronted with violence we only read about in the past. It’s true that the days when we could freely walk the streets of KL at night without worries are over. Is this an inevitable price we pay for modernity and development? Is this a normal symptomatic occurrence we see when a city begins to grow?

I wouldn’t believe it myself and could only laugh out when my aunt kept on asking me to lock my doors while driving in KL for the fear that someone would come at knife point and relieve me of my vehicle. The endless advice not to park at the LRT car parks for fear of car jacking and stern warnings not to wander off alone into unfamiliar streets. To this point I still drive with my car locks freely unlatched as I drive but at times a ninggling feeling makes me unconciously push down the locks. I would still be laughing out loud if it wasn’t for an incident involving my relations. Our life is mostly routine, we often carry out the same tasks and chore every morning as we go to work, we drive out at roughly the same time, take the familiar routes and later on returning home repeat this ritual in reverse. Even if we never realise it, it seems there are people out there that do, those looking for a pattern, organizing an opportunity and later execute their plan to rob or worse, kidnap you for ransom. The thought that there are villains out there so highly organized, so meticulous and well planned sends chills through my spine. They are no longer the uneducated louts that blindly and randomly commit petty crimes, these new breeds are smart, they bide their time and observe, charting for a moment that will be advantageous for them to strike, they lure you into a false sense of relief and let you think that your life is still running normally.

That was what happened to my cousin and aunt one evening. They were travelling as usual back from their goldsmith shop at Brickfields and reaching the intersection near SRJK Damansara in Bandar Utama late in the night. Suddenly there was a car that flashed a siren and asked them to pull over. The men were dressed in police fatigues and even bore what can be said as genuine police badges so my cousin complied. Before they knew it, these bogus cops whipped out parangs (machete) and guns and inserted themselves into the car. Their demand, that my relations take them back to the store and hand over the jewellery stored within as well as maybe even ransoming my relations. While two of them rode along to ensure compliance, another drove their getaway car and followed closely. Thank God as they were trying to open the front door the alarm went off and they panicked and fled leaving my aunt and cousin free. The police were called in after they got home and a report was lodged. It was lucky that no harm was done to my relations and it was a close call as the villains had them totally at their mercy. This didn't stop another robbery attempt that dud a tunnel through the garbage chute into the shop and tried unsuccessfully to blow torch the safe open (which later forced my uncle to safecrack himself as the lock was jammed with a fortune of gold and receipts within).

The warnings now seem more real to the point that sometimes I preserve danger where there is none to fear. Letting fear control us cannot be allowed, else we’ll be paralysed by phantom fears at every corner nor can we let our guard down anymore else we become complacent that the things we hear happening around us would never ever occur to us. Do we feel safe anymore, even in our house? My house in Kuantan including several other houses in the same area were meticulously ransacked while the occupants were away on holiday. It gives a sense of dread that you know your sanctuary and privacy has been invaded, strangers sifting through your belongings and the thought of what if you were there sleeping soundly and them being in the same room? Even here in Sabah, student’s houses were systematically broken in and even some forced entry whereby the occupants were held with parangs and relieved of valuables. I don’t know what the law enforcers are doing about it. I don’t know what the Government is going to do about it. At times I don’t even know what I’d do about it. Are we living in dangerous times and will we ever feel secure again? If anyone ever asks is Malaysia safe? I can only answer no longer.


narrowband said...

I concur, Kerv.

No longer safe, indeed. Our country is at its worst now, in terms of social security. Our govt should highlight this issue in the next Dewan meeting or something. Something is terribly, terribly wrong with this country.

Glad to hear your aunt and cousin were unharmed. Scary, dude..

These days, it's wiser to go to the goldsmiths or banks with a few friends or family members, preferably men. I mean, that may not help much, but at least it makes the robbers/attackers think twice. Don't go to places alone or with only one companion - especially dark, secluded places.

Boy, we can't even stay safe in our own home (country). Where else can we be safe?

Adrian said...

Crime has gone up. Nothing is being done. Why? Cos our current leader wants to make everyone happy. I guess he meant criminals too. His nature of placating everyone is the root cause of all of this.

Before the party elections, talks of money politics will be harshly dealt with have come up with nothing.

Illegals are given amnesty after amnesty, yes the freeze on foreign worker intake only lasted a day.

Students now wont pay up 'cos they have little reason beyond morals to do so.

During CNY, firecrackers and fireworks are blatantly put on display, and ignited with utter defiance to the law.

Motorists still speed and disregard any law, since the enforcers are easily bribable. Corruption occurs because nobody has been brought to face the music.

Piracy is at its highest and our country tops the list of the worlds biggest optical disc piracy producer.

All we have so far are empty threats that does not hold water.

Maybe its time someone woke up and put his feet down, just as his predecessor always did.

Adam said...

After my in-law's house was broken into, I can't sleep peacefully anymore. We are planning to install motion detectors all around the house with searchlight. AM equiping my wife with siren and pepper spray too.

Papi said...

I thnk everywhere also the same lor. what to do, in Malaysia, police is understaff, so for us, have to rely on the neighbours lor, Rukun Tetangga lar, Neighbourhood watch lar. And hv to becareful when going out, like locking the car even when driving.

yuni said...

huhu.its so scary msia these days.did u read the news today? about a MAS engineer being killed by road-rager?i think i believe that when a country gets more modernized, the crime rate just get higher..but then i hope Msia won't end up like the worst places of crime in the world.we really have to watch for ourselves.

narrowband said...

Papi, my area has neighbourhood watch, but crime rate went up instead. Snatch thefts occured in broad daylight. What can the RT do about that, at 2pm in the afternoon? We really have to watch for ourselves, like yuni said.

iblogme said...

Kervin, it is sad that we cannot feel safe even in our own homes these days and that fear has permeate our everyday lives. *sigh*

Kervin said...

narrowband: Sometimes groups are not enough nowadays even, thieves have better weapons and yes theft now occurs in broad daylight.

Adrian: Agreed

Adam: I recently saw a company selling pepper spray, never thought I'd see one here in Malaysia nor the need for it, seems ladies are not the only one buying them too. Alarms, grills, bolts, sometimes our home feels more like a prison nowadays. Anyway maybe investing in a dog is a good deal too.

Papi: Rukun tetangga has been around since I was born, yet its not entirely effecctive due to the lack of cooperation between neighbours and also that the theives are better armed that people carrying poles might not be much of a detterent.

Yuni: Yeah, horrors imagine it could happen to anyone of us! Maybe people become psychos in a congested city environment, hopefully Malaysia can do something about crime.

iblogme: Tell me about it :(