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KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s top policemen went to the ground yesterday in a concerted effort to allay fears of the public on the recent spate of violent crime.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar met several non-governmental organisations and bloggers at the General Operations Force(centralbrigade)in Cheras to tellt hem that the police shared their concerns.
At the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Criminal Investigations Department chief Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin attended a dialogue with the Malaysian Association for Shopping and High Rise Complex Management.
Ismail said police were aware that the public were still living in fear, although statistics showed that the crime rate had gone down.
"Crime is not only about numbers. Yes, the numbers are down, but the public is not convinced. We take this as a challenge. The focus now is to ensure that the public feel safe, no matter where they are."
Ismail also met his state police chiefs and heads of departments to get their feedback on the situation on the ground and to come up with new strategies to combat crime.
One of his instructions to his senior officers was to keep close tabs on former Emergency Ordinance detainees. There were allegations recently that the spate of violent crimes were due to the release of EO detainees after the repeal of the preventive law.
"It is all about perception. That is what we are fighting," he said.
He gave an example of a violent crime at a shopping complex recently.
"The case got big play but crimes at shopping complexes are not as rampant as people think. There were only six cases reported in Selangor this year and two in Kuala Lumpur.
"Even though the numbers were small, people are now afraid to visit shopping complexes."
Ismail pointed out that recent statistics showed that the crime rate had dropped and that an international panel had given Malaysian police the thumbs up for their efforts in reducing and fighting crime.
At Sunway, Khalid told some 300 retailers and complex owners that police would station more men outside their premises to allay the fears of shoppers.
"This is to ensure a safer environment for all."
Khalid added that the public could also play an important role in ensuring safety.
"The reason we went to the ground today (yesterday) is because we want the public to know how important it is to be alert at all times. Lately, we see a trend of crimes happening at parking lots in or near shopping centres. We cannot afford to let our guard down and let the criminals know we are easy targets."
Police praised Sunway Pyramid shopping centre's initiative of installing 400 closed-circuit television cameras and 200 "panic buttons" to combat crime and keep their customers safe.
Khalid also welcomed the plan by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to station Rela members at shopping centres, especially in car parks.
Meanwhile, former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said it was the fear of crime that needed to be addressed and not just focus on numbers.