PETALING JAYA: Pekan Subang of Selangor stood out as a good example where joint efforts at creating a safe and orderly neighbourhood bore fruit after the police worked together with community groups under the Blackspot Initiative of the Reducing Crime National Key Results Area (CRI-NKRA).
However, it was no easy task for the Shah Alam City Hall (MBSA) to get the ball rolling, as Pekan Subang residents disliked the idea of being labelled as living in a “black area”.
With an area of 7.7ha, and a population of more than 13,400 residents, Pekan Subang stood out not so much for high crime rate, but due to a less than wholesome environment characterised by rampant drug addiction, gangsterism, illegal racing, other than a slew of vacant or abandoned buildings in the area.
There is also a lack of patrols in the area as most back lanes were inaccessible to police vehicles, and the town is also known for its large population of immigrants, which raises security concerns.
In the 2013 GTP annual report, MBSA’s Department of Planning director Aniza Osman said residents were apprehensive about the programme at first.
“The residents and petty traders were concerned that labelling Pekan Subang as a blackspot would scare away people,” said Aniza, who added that MBSA pressed on despite the initial lack of interest.
It tackled head-on complicated tasks such as the relocation of petty traders, clearing the streets of illegal immigrants with the relevant authorities, and increasing police presence in the area.
Through a number of engagement sessions with the associations in Pekan Subang, MBSA also worked to transform the district by making simple improvements such as clearing blocked drains, improving lighting and introducing secure parking bays for motorcycles throughout last year.
“Of course, some were angry when we first started making demands from them.
“Some traders had used the illegal stall location for a long time. But we persisted because we wanted Pekan Subang to be a place where residents could move about freely without fearing for their safety,” said Aniza, who added that residents and businesses are now reporting greater satisfaction and greater sense of security.
The CRI-NKRA’s Blackspot Initiative, introduced in GTP 2.0, is based on the broken windows theory, which espouses that evidence of urban disorder and tolerance for vandalism can invite further anti-social behaviours as such tolerance suggests that the community does not care about its surroundings or environment.
Did you find this article insightful?