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SOMETIME in 1982, I was robbed and abducted in my own car at gunpoint by a man, somewhere in my neighbourhood of Section 16, Petaling Jaya.
Fortunately, I was unharmed only because the perpetrator just wanted my purse containing cash, and to get the hell out of the area. He dumped me, unwittingly, near my house.
I was relieved but still shaken by the ordeal. The following day, the police found my grey Mazda 323 in a light industrial area near Section 13, Petaling Jaya, minus my work jacket and my Olivetti typewriter -- both items essential for my Parliament assignment. It was a crime waiting to happen in what was otherwise a safe neighbourhood.
The abduction (newspapers screamed "Reporter Abducted") took place about 9pm in front of a row of shops. The parking area was dimly lit but that never frightened me because there were always people around. That particular evening, though, it was quite desolate.
Since that episode, I decided to psyche myself at all levels. I consulted experts and read tonnes of material on crime prevention and on what you should do when you fall victim to robbery or sexual assault.
The advent of the phenomenal cell phone changed the way we live our lives. It was a useful tool. That telephone number of my neighbourhood police station has been stored in my cell phone since. Well, thank God for cell phones.
In a changing world, we continue to be confronted with new sets of problems. So my eagerness and interest never waned. When I posted on my Facebook a news item about 25-year-old Chin Xin Ci who was abducted by two men at the car park of the Curve Shopping Centre but fought them off and escaped, someone asked "can't the police do something about this?".
She was putting her shopping bags onto the rear seat of her car when one of the attackers slammed the door on her.
I understand the commenter's concern but the police cannot be at car parks of shopping complexes all the time. The police after all cannot be everywhere although that would be so ideal.
Ensuring a safe and secure environment is the job of the management of these establishments.
The Curve learnt about security from day one -- when on Feb 17 in 2005 during its very early days, 32-year-old May Goh Lee Fang was found dead in a pool of blood behind an office boutique.
She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed. I've never felt unsafe in The Curve because, among other things, the parking areas are quite brightly lit. So, it was Xin Ci's unlucky day but she was gutsy and fought her abductors tooth and nail before jumping out of the car.
Two other notable cases involving women recently have got us all worried. One was of a salesgirl who was abducted at night at an outdoor parking lot near a shopping complex. She was forced to drive to an automated teller machine and withdraw money.
The other was of a teacher, 51-year-old Teoh Soo Kim who is now in a coma after she was robbed and hit on the head. She was robbed and left unconscious in an oil palm plantation in Kuala Selangor on June 6.
Because the three cases occurred so closely, many women have been gripped with fear and worry. Womens' organisations have called for better security and safety measures in public areas. Under the circumstances, the public naturally conclude that crime cases are on the rise. The truth is, the crime index has gone down.
The police have already begun effecting innovative and strategic measures to reduce crime under the Government Transformation Programme since it was launched in 2010. The data has shown positive results with the crime index dropping by 11.1 per cent. Street crimes have been reduced by nearly 50 per cent since 2010. Indeed, the police cannot be everywhere. But you can be sure that The Curve is now very much under its radar.
Already the police are on the hunt for the attackers in all three cases. Their response was swift. They are also assisting shopping centres in upgrading their security features.
It is true that bringing down the crime rate involves all stakeholders, including the public. But it's nothing like being reassured that the police are in full gear in getting the bad guys and making sure they are put away.
Meanwhile, I continue to have my antennae up and my senses on alert.