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Saturday June 16, 2012

Violent crime rates in Malaysia are reaching worrying levels

IN Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, 12-year-old Dutch national Nayati Shamelin Moodliar was kidnapped for ransom.

In Kundang, Selangor, a 22-year-old female was raped by her uncle in his 30s at an oil palm estate, where he filmed the act and threatened to release the video if she refused to marry him.

In Terengganu, six workers from Indonesia were robbed by a local policeman and three youths.

In Mutiara Damansara, Selangor, 25-year-old Chin Xin-Ci was abducted and robbed by two men, narrowly escaping potential rape.

In Johor Baru, a security guard got shot five times while trying to fend off robbers at a money changer’s outlet.

In Kota Damansara, Selangor, 29-year-old Azwin Andy walked into a robbery at his parents’ house in the middle of the night and was tied up together with his immediate family members, having belongings from their house stolen from them.

Also in Mutiara Damansara, Selangor, two store assistants were robbed of RM80,000 on their way to deposit the store’s cash earnings into a bank, by men who threw curry powder into their faces as a distraction.

In Kuala Selangor, a 51-year-old female teacher Teoh Soo Kim was kidnapped, robbed and violently assaulted to the state of coma.

In Kelana Jaya, Selangor, a 28-year-old woman and resident of Kelana D’Putera Condominum got assaulted by two men who snatched her handbag and other valuable belongings away. This happened right in front of the condominium, while its security guard and other residents watched on, showing no signs of wanting to help.

This incident was recorded on camera and the video is now viral on YouTube.

All these (and more) serious crime cases happened within the last eight weeks. I’m not even talking about the crime cases since January or even last year. Usually we would only read about these cases in the newspaper or watch them being covered on television.

But in the cases stated above, two of the victims are people I know. They’re actual friends and acquaintances. Makes me wonder, have law and order seriously deteriorated here?

As Andy relays his story, he said four men used a bolt cutter to work their way through a window at the back of his house.

The men slipped in and proceeded into Andy’s brother’s room first, where a struggle and assault ensued.

Soon after, they entered his parents’ room and after tying everyone’s hands up, Andy returned home, suffering the same fate. Luckily, no one else was hurt or injured.

After their home was ransacked and belongings were taken away, they saw a fifth man joining the four, who were running away from the vicinity. It was then that he realised, “Maybe it was a good idea that we didn’t fight back.

He might have ambushed us, or might have had a more dangerous weapon. We’ll never know.” But it proved to be a good move, as his family were left unharmed.

What has become of Malaysia, until violent crimes are so common these days? Who do we blame, other than, obviously, the criminals themselves? How many times have we read about snatch theft victims who were injured badly? Or killed? How many of us would stop to help a person whose bag has just been snatched? How many of us would check to see what was happening if an alarm goes off?

If we’re in our cars, waiting at the traffic lights and witness a motorcyclist who smashes the window of another stationary car, would we do anything? How many of us would even stop to help after an accident? Besides slowing down to crane our necks and causing more traffic, a favourite Malaysian pastime.

Andy also added that before his house was broken into, there was an alarm that was triggered at a nearby home.

Neighbours saw five men fleeing the area, heading right into Andy’s house instead. He mentioned, “The authorities apparently knew about this and should have put out an alert among the police force. Instead, they claimed to have done some patrols, obviously to no avail.”

It might take a few years to solve social problems. Therefore, the most direct and rapid way would be to perhaps, improve the police force, strategies, as well as their efficiency. Sure, some cases get solved. Eventually.

But isn’t prevention better than cure, and if criminals were afraid of the authorities, wouldn’t we hear less of these types of stories? I strongly believe that with reasonable enforcement comes obedience and conformity.

Instead of blaming the media for blowing cases out of proportion, or being defensive when questioned over the rising crime rate, perhaps it would be better to put words into actions and restore a safe living space for the people.

We ourselves should also take the necessary steps to heighten our level of safety, especially during times like this.

In my next article, I would like to explore this matter further. If you have any thoughts to add, experiences of your own that you would like to share; or even, steps to take in order to prevent crime, please e-mail livethemoment1@gmail.com.

Names and details of each experience will be changed for privacy purposes.

Dawn Jeremiah’s Facebook news feed was flooded with four crime stories in the past eight hours, consisting of assaults, robberies and car break ins. Armed with a passion for television and journalism, she handles regional marketing at a regional lifestyle channel. She also tweets at www.twitter.com/dawnjeremiah

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