SNATCH-THEFT VICTIMS: Don't let them steal your courage
MY admiration to New Straits Times managing editor Datuk Nuraina Samad and other snatch theft victims like her who want to keep safe and not be paranoid.
She recounted her experience in 1982 when she was robbed at gunpoint by a lone perpetrator believed to be a drug addict. She wrote about her latest encounter when she was the victim of another roadside robbery as she was about to get into her car after having dinner at a restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
A German expatriate, Anna Kaster, who is now being hospitalised for a fractured hip and shoulder as a result of a snatch theft, had also told us her moving story of her love for Malaysia and her desire to continue visiting the country despite the encounters.
What was interesting was when she said there would never be enough policeman to fight snatch thefts and hoped that the public would do their part.
Many women I have spoken to have complained that at one time or another they were the victims, leaving them in fear as they go about their daily activities.
However, many other ladies who had suffered the same fate were not as gutsy as Nuraina and Kaster.
Kaster spoke to me recently and expressed her desire to educate women and inspire them to help one another to fight crime.
She is prepared to address women groups particularly, women victims of snatch thefts and other crimes to give them moral support to stand up and say "No" to crime.
To say the least, those who committed snatch thefts against women are not only criminals but are inhuman and deserve the full force of the law to be brought upon them.
While the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation welcomes ongoing efforts by police to fight snatch thefts, it is obvious that more needs to be done to grapple with the problem and help prevent more such incidents in the future and restore public confidence towards their safety.
While more uniformed and plain-clothes personnel are needed for street patrols, there is also a need to tackle the problem at the source.
Most snatch thieves are drug addicts who need to support their habit. MCPF feels that there should be profiling of snatch thieves so that we will know their background and why they are into it.
As long as this problem is not resolved, many drug-related crimes will continue to occur.
Meanwhile, MCPF calls on law enforcement agencies, local authorities and non-governmental organisations to work together to fight the snatch-thief scourge.
Various measures should be implemented such as:
POLICE should implement more effective measures to nab snatch thieves throughout the country, if possible, with more resources;
LOCAL authorities should implement the guidelines under the safe city concept to provide safety features, such barriers to separate pedestrian walkways and roads;
PEDESTRIANS must enhance their vigilance against snatch thieves and practice the guidelines provided by MCPF and the police on how they can prevent snatch thefts;
MORE civic-minded Malaysians must help nab the snatch thieves and hand them over to the authorities or they could use their mobile phones to take pictures of the crime scene and assist police in the investigation; and,
MORE stringent punishment must be meted out to those convicted of snatch thefts to commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye,vice-chairman, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation, Kuala Lumpur