How to solve our snatch theft problems
I was at The Annexe Gallery in Central Market for the second edition of PopIn: PopOut – Social Ideas Challenge. The people behind PopIn is organising this as a way to “collate the wealth of ideas generated everyday by every-day people, and to put good ideas forward to be used for the betterment of society.”
Yesterday, four young Malaysians got together to take on different issues including Gated Communities, Slogans and Making Malaysia Truly Gemilang. My topic (we were sent a list about two weeks ago and we selected it based on “siapa cepat, dia dapat”) was Snatch Theft.
Here is the brief:
Chances are we all know of someone close to us who has been a victim of snatch-theft. A growing problem in Malaysia, some instances of snatch theft have caused fatalities, when the person holding onto the handbag has been dragged by the motorbike, or through subsequent acts of violence.
Many attempts have been made to curb such crimes, and recently the police have proposed that snatch thieves be punished with social work like sweeping the streets to serve them a bitter lesson. Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin went further and said the offenders should also wear posters that say â€œI am a snatch thiefâ€ to shame them so that they repent. The public on the other hand often blame the police for lack of enforcement.
Regardless, the problem remains unsolved and more people are being victimized. How do you propose a city like KL deal with such an issue?
I wanted to share my presentation here. The Prezi is below and I will elaborate in point form:
- I started off the presentation talking about my only encounter with snatch theft, when my mum fell victim just outside my house. Other than that, and what I read in the papers, I know little else of it. So I turned to Wikipedia. Note how Malaysia is identified specifically (which I thought was funny, but also utter rubbish).
- Then I shared some the response by some people who have been victims, or know of people who have been, which I sourced via Twitter.
- I went back to the Wikipedia definition and picked out key words, from which I devised my ideas. I had six “solutions”.
- Leave the country: Since it has been identified as a Malaysian problem, one quick solution is to leave the country. I also suggested 2Malaysia – one for the rich, and the other for the poor (you know, get an island, chuck all the poor people there, that kind of thing). Lastly, I thought that since the authorities had suggested brilliant ideas like public humiliation and er, sweeping the streets the perpetrators snatched from, why not go further? We’ll march them towards a bonfire (wearing those signs) and make them walk into it – ala witch hunt style. The only people who get “invites” to this “show” are the victims, who can celebrate by throwing their handbags into the fire as well.
- Unagi: I shared that video from F.R.I.E.N.D.S where Ross speaks about Unagi – “the state of constant awareness”. I was thinking what else could pedestrians do other than follow common sense: walk under the light, avoid dark alleys etc. But these don’t always work. If they had “Unagi” then they might be able to sense when they are about to be attached. For this, I suggested – as a long term plan – that martial arts and self-defense classes be made compulsory in schools. This way, no only will they be able to defend themselves in the future, but because they have skills on fighting back etc, this might deter the perpetrators to stay away from them.
- Ban motorcycles: Enough said.
- Don’t carry handbags: This is a common enough suggestion. Don’t wear too much blings to attract attention, don’t carry big handbags, or worse, wristlets that just dangle from your hand. Carry wallets or small purses, or keep things in your pocks.
- Help our cops: Well, obviously our cops need help – otherwise, there wouldn’t be much of a problem anyway. I suggested that we help out cops (there are a lot of areas they need help with) by installing CCTV cameras all around the city which have proven to work in reducing crime. Not only does this deter the perpetrators, it also helps us identify them. A lot of the time, victims can’t identify who snatched from them and therefore, they remain prowling the streets for their next victim.
- Take justice in your own hand: I know a lot of guys out there have dreams of becoming Hit Girl but the vigilante method isn’t the smartest thing to do. I suggest using social media to help identify the common spots where these incidents occur. As example, we can have a blog to mark these areas – similar to this and this. Otherwise, why not us Twitter? I proposed that all snatch theft incidents be tweeted out using the #KLragut hashtag. This will help three ways:
- Help people who move around these areas be aware of the incidences so they will be more alert.
- Identify the spots for the cops so that they can add patrol (whether in uniform or plain-clothed).
- Keep the perpetrators away because the spot has already been identified, people are more alerts and hopefully, more police presence as well.
Of course, these are all very micro and specific “solutions”. I also spoke about how we need to look at the bigger picture – all of the above together – and consider the root of the problem. The authorities need to identify these people, profile them and find out what is it that is leading them to do this. Is it the thrill? Is it the issue of poverty? Is it an urban poor issue? Could it be because of the lack of public places?
I have to add a disclaimer here as well. My solutions are not all practical, and some are obviously in jest. The speakers were told that while we want to get ideas going, we shouldn’t confine ourselves to practicality. I say this because, er, most people only picked up on my suggestion to Leave The Country which, if you look at my presentation, I actually note that it should not be an option.
The whole idea of the Social Ideas Challenge is to get conversations started and get ideas flowing. I’d love to hear if you guys have any suggestions or ideas as well.
9.14am Malaysian time (+8 GMT)