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Sunday, June 20, 2004


Snatch Thefts :: Don't Go Overboard

::The recent deaths of snatch theft victims have brought much attention to this crime. But is the media and everyone going overboard in dealing with it. The government leaders, the politicians, NGOs and even the police are all jumping all over in trying to deal with the problem.

Suggested methods of dealing with it ranged from empowering the people with beefing up of the law on citizen's arrest, to longer prison terms for snatch thieves, to installing CCTVs in crime prone public areas to help reduce this crime and the Housing and Local Govt Minister coming out with the concept of a "Safe City". Today, we are told that the polis will be going all out to tackle this Public Enemy No. 1 of the moment :: The Snatch Thief. Bravo! All great solutions to the flavoured problem of the moment. But will it all be anget anget tahi ayam; without continuity and further persistence, all these solutions will come to naught. As many of us are aware, the authorities do have short memories and poor maintenance culture. So don't be surprise when all these solutions are forgotten once the brouhaha is over and we move on to the next flavoured problem.

Everyone has his/her part to play to overcoming this problem. A survey has shown us the modus operandi of the snatch thief, we know who he is, we know where he usually accost his victims and we know who are the victims. Obviously there is a need for the potential victims to take preventive steps and reduce exposure to such crimes. Preventive actions include slinging one's sling bag across the body, not walking alone, be alert of one's suroundings and don't flash one's jewellery. For more tips click here. Knowing who the perpetrators are, the polis can take preventive steps by removing them from the streets and reducing their numbers. The judicial use and installation of CCTVs in crime prone areas can be helpful, but at the same time what is more important is that there must be people monitoring these CCTVs and people available to respond as soon as the commission of a crime is noticed. A bigger visible presence of the polis in crime prone areas is probably the most effective measure to curb this crime and at the same time the commission of other crimes. Heavier and more deterrent sentences on conviction of the snatch thief would go a long way to deter others from considering committing crimes. Whether empowering the people with more citizen's arrest powers will prove effective, the answer would probably be no and there is always the possiblity of it become vigilante law, with the citizens in turn running foul of the law. What is most important is for all to keep on their toes, not let the guard down and maintain all the efforts presently being made to fight this problem.


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