Living in fear of snatch thieves

  • Letters
  • Sunday, 13 Jun 2004

I LIVE in SS2, Petaling Jaya, and one of the houses adjoining mine is used as a childcare centre.  

On Thursday, when I got home from work, my family told me that just moments before I arrived, one of the employees of the childcare centre had lost her bag to a snatch thief on a motorbike.  

This is the second time this year that an employee of the centre has had her bag snatched. Both incidents occurred right outside our doorstep. 

In the first incident, the thief threatened his victim with a knife and pushed her into a drain, causing grievous injuries.  

Across the road, there are rows of shops and we regularly see or hear of this sort of incident happening there.  

Since I do not drive or own a car, I frequently use public transport to go about, especially to and from work. This means that I have to walk from my house to the bus stop. I am sure many SS2 residents who are in a similar position are as worried as I am about the possibility of encountering a snatch thief.  

Many of us have become more streetwise, but how far can we go to protect ourselves? 

We have resorted to wearing multi-pocket trousers nowadays to carry important items so that we can leave our bags at home to minimise the risk of attracting snatch thieves, but what can we do when the culprits stop their vehicle and wield a knife? 

We would still be left with empty pockets (and, hopefully, still physically intact). As far as dress code is concerned, forget about wearing a nice dress or dainty heels.  

Few pedestrians, especially females, like me can dress well any more for fear of making ourselves conspicuous and vulnerable. We also take taxis whenever we can but that is another risk we are reluctant to take.  

I know that I speak for the majority when I say we are sick of living in such fear and frustration, afraid even to step out of our homes to take an evening stroll around the neighbourhood.  

I would certainly like to know if the authorities have taken any effort to protect the people from snatch thieves.  

There is a police station right across our neighbourhood, and yet such terrible incidents are still rampant in the area.  

Similarly, there is a police station in Damansara Utama where I work, but snatch thefts are also common there. Why is this so?  

SS2 RESIDENT Petaling Jaya, Selangor  

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