Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Economics Of Crime And Prevention?

I was praised recently for keeping most of my postings here unemotional, but I apologise if I let a little emotion slip through in this particular piece. A few weeks ago, my house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL, was broken into. It was the second break-in in broad daylight we had to endure in less that 8 months.

Fortunately, no one was home, but again, my wife's digital camera was stolen. The camera was a replacement I had bought her for the one stolen in the earlier break-in. The original camera was an anniversary gift to her. More personally, with loss of both cameras back-to-back, we have lost nearly all the photos of our one-year old ever taken.

A few observations to be made:
  1. We were not nearly as traumatised by the second break-in. But this in itself is a tragedy. We joked that we could almost forgive the burglars if they would just return our son's photo's.

  2. We live in a terrace house. After the first break-in, we considered putting in an alarm, and decided against it as it felt pretentious. We're not rich, just obviously middle-class, and a burglar in Taman Tun should get more from a Semi-D or Bungalow.

  3. A friend informed me with much irony soon after the break-in that Taman Tun was considered one of the safest suburbs in KL!

It is with great sadness that I have now installed an alarm at my house. When we've saved enough money, we'll probably move, though I struggle to imagine why we should or where we would move to from the 'safest suburb in KL'.

This long pre-amble is not intended to attract pity, empathy or indeed as a prelude to criticising the police. I actually am grateful to the police as both in the most recent and past experiences we have had with them, facing the danger and aftermath of break-ins, etc., they have been courteous, professional and showed great empathy. This despite obvious signs that they are being increasingly stretched of late.

Whilst the response time of the police to the alert of the second break-in was excellent and their actions in inspecting the house decisive, we noted that only one squad car came, when 8 months earlier, we had 2 arriving in the space of minutes. In addition, the detective and "CSI" was able to come within the hour of the report of the first break-in. On the most recent break-in, we had to wait for at least 4 hours.

The detective apologised for being late the second time as as it seems they have a major backlog, not just of cases, but of follow-ups to reports of crime! Again, this is no fault of his, we just have more crime, and the need for more police officers is more a challenge for the government.

And so I welcome the recent announcement that the government is planning on increasing police numbers in the WPI region, only...

  1. The root cause isn't the police numbers, it's the economy! Despite great government statistics on investments, growth and the stock market, people are still being driven into sufficient poverty that they are turning to lives of crime. Does the government have statistics for crime rate as a proportion of unemployed ... including migrants of course?
  2. And what is so special about the WPI region that only they get the extra police? Surely if the economy is doing so well, the government can afford more policemen all over the country? Can the safety of potential Singaporean investors in the WPI be so important to Pak Lah's dreams that he is happy to ignore the safety and security of us humble citizens in other parts of the country? I thought he was our PM?

Just some thoughts. One hopes that Pak Lah's new spouse will help him apply the proper and right priorities of his leadership upon the citizens of our increasingly fading nation...


hasbullah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hasbullah said...

Salam Akhram,

I am sorry to hear of your double
jeopardies, especially when they happened within a short time gap and especially when the criminals did not just steal the camera, they also stole the memories contained within it.

lamandau said...

I tend to agree with you when you said
"The root cause isn't the police numbers, it's the economy! Despite great government statistics on investments, growth and the stock market, people are still being driven into sufficient poverty that they are turning to lives of crime........"

It is very simple to explain the above quotation. When our country was experiencing stable and bountiful economy, there were so many projects inclusive megas,either funded by government or PFI. Thus giving plentiful employment opportunities to locals as well as foreigners. Their salaries were fantastic and they could live a very decent life. These also included drug addicts but they could sustain their 'needs' from their own sweat and tears without having to 'earn' money from other activities!! The rate of unemployment was minimal as such the police were able to cope with the crime then.
However, when there was a sudden slow-down of developments, when the government of the day felt that to save money is better than spending, those previously being employed found themselves without jobs. How are they going to get the money for daily use? Some to fend their 'needs'? So these categories of people resort to crime i.e house-breaking, theft, robberies, and the simplest is snatch-theft, to get fast buck!!!! In Short when there is no money flowing on the ground, the crime rate will surely rocketed!! So now , who's to blame? Lacking in efforts and man-power on the part of PDRM?Failure in hardening of targets? or the failure on the part of government to create and provide employment opportunities. Crime runs parallel with development and if development is short-circuited, crime rate will over shoot!!!

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