‘Fear of crime definitely on the rise’

Teoh El Sen | September 14, 2012
Forget about statistics and perceptions and let's do something together about the increasing "fear of crime", say anti-crime groups.
PETALING JAYA: The public must stop bickering about the apparent disconnect between public perception on the increase in crime rate, and official statistics that indicate otherwise.
Kuan Chee Heng, founder of a fast-growing community policing website (http://cops.org.my/), said that everyone must get actively involved in stemming the “fear of crime”.
“We don’t want to talk about perception and statistics, who is right and wrong. I’m sad to see Malaysians having a reverse mindset.
“Instead of us being afraid of robbers, it should be the criminals who should be afraid of us. Why should we be cowering in fear?” he asked.
Kuan was responding to news reports quoting the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar as saying that 54% of people interviewed in a police survey felt the country was unsafe.
Ismail would later say that the survey results was just a matter of perception. Choosing to neither dispute nor agree with Ismail, Kuan said: “Fear of crime is real.”
“The IGP tells us crime is on the decline and it is merely public perception, which is true. But that does not give us the comfortable feeling that there’s no increase in crime.”
He panned the IGP for being “very clever at playing with words”, and added: “Tan Sri says crime is down, but he does not mention that huge increase in fear among people.
Crimes in which victims are injured, according to Kuan, is clearly on the rise. “If I look at the statistics, crime is decreasing, but what about areas where violent crimes are going up?”
Kuan said that he wanted to encourage active participation, and his 60,000-strong group has been frequently been on the streets assisting police work.
“We must fight back. Retake our streets. Malaysians are very good at being keyboard warriors, just spreading news about crime on Facebook, but how many of you will join us?” said Kuan.

Shared responsibility
Recently formed group, Marah (Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & Snatch), also agreed that debates on statistics won’t end if people do not realise that safety is a shared responsibility.
“The reality is that there is a spike in crimes, there are cases in the papers every single day. To be fair to the cops, they are trying, they have various command centres and they work hard.
“But robbers…there are only so many of them, if the the cops are in one location, the robbers will move to another,” said Marah founder Dave Avran.
He said that there are “parties with agendas” who simply want to “put down the authorities”. But what is more important is for everyone to set aside their differences.
“On one hand it is a cat and mouse game with the cops and robbers. On the other, members of the public are not really joining hands to fight crime.”
“Do you want 100% safety? Then we need to do our part. How many of us would help someone who’s being attacked in front of us,” he said.
Dave said Marah, which offers advise, counselling and support to crime victims, is seeking an audience with the IGP to discuss ways to tackle street crime.
“Those in authority can throw all the figures they want, but the people? They just want crime to stop. Who cares how many snatch thefts are there.
“We want to go about our daily business safe and sound.We can’t even open our own house gates these days without a parang at our necks.”
Yesterday, Ismail lamented that “negative reporting” was bringing down the government and police’s hard work, with public perception on crime “getting out of hand”.
He said this resulted in National Key Results Area (NKRA) on reducing crime going “down the drain”.

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