Urgent need to tackle incidence of house-breaking


THE overall crime rate in the country had dipped 15 per cent last year with street crime going down by 35 per cent compared to the year before. Public fear of crime had also dropped to 52.8 per cent last year from 58.5 per cent the previous year.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin made these disclosures after a visit to Dang Wangi police station, one of the stops during his walkabout in Kuala Lumpur recently. He said the reduction was largely due to the implemention of crime-prevention measures under the National Key Results Area (NKRA).

Last week, while opening the Sibu Central Police Station, State Commissioner of Police Datuk Mortadza Nazarene indicated the crime rate in Sarawak was well below the national average of Key Performaner Index (KPI).

He revealed Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri were among the crime hotspots under NKRA but pointed out that the crime rate in Sibu was down by 17.8 per cent compared to last year, the reason being that Sibu is one of the areas where the National Blue Ocean Strategy has been implemented with increased police presence supplemented by joint patrols with Rela and the Civil Defence Department.

Whether or not the other three Divisions – Kuching, Bintulu and Miri – are also ‘Blue Ocean’ areas is not known. Neither is the status of their crime rates since these were not mentioned during the opening ceremony.

While announcements on reduced crime rates are always reassuring, there are, however, well-founded fears that the incidence of house-breaking is still quite rampant in the state. The frequency of this crime is not only giving residents sleepless nights but also plenty of daytime worries. The perpetrators can strike any time – day or night.

In one recent case, thieves broke into a house belonging to a doctor at Sungai Maong and took away electronic items worth RM13,000. Fortunately, the doctor’s teenage daughter who slept through the robbery, was not harmed.

In another incident, the family house of a female sales promoter at Sungai Tapang was ransacked  ‘beyond recognition ’ – in fact, so messy that the whole place looked like it was still under construction.

A stash of household items was found in the living room – apparently ‘parked’ there by the intruders with the option of coming back for them later.

The sales promoter, thinking her presence would deter the thieves from returning to pick up the rest of the items, stayed back at house but after a while, decided that discretion is the better part of valour and left to make a police report. It was a wise move on her part.

In house-breaking cases, the victims are usually kept in the dark after making their police reports. They have no way of knowing the progress or outcome of the investigation apart from being told it’s still on-going.

People are adverse to being kept in suspense indefinitely. Perhaps, for this reason, many house-breaking incidents have gone unreported.

It would be interesting to know of all the house-breaking cases that have been reported, how many have actually be solved?  Shedding some light on this will, at least, help to set the public at ease.

More police mobile patrols at residential areas will go a long way towards deterring the house-breakers.

It’s by ensuring crimes committed are accounted for that the full force of the law can be brought to bear on criminal elements.

Nowadays, the problems of society, especially with regard to crime, have become much more complex and sophisticated, and there is a need to tackle them holistically. For unless we work in concert to put criminals behind bars, no matter how challenging the task may seem, attaining zero-tolerance for crime in our society will look good only on paper.

It is said parental neglect of their children is perhaps the most common cause of criminality. Without guidance from their parents, gullible youngsters are fair game to negative influence.  Most can be coaxed into committing ‘small crimes’ such as cheating in exam, shoplifting, stealing and other petty thefts. These small crimes could evolve into violent trangressions such as rape, kidnap and murder.

Misguided young minds are fertile breeding grounds for societal ills, hence making it all the more crucial for parents to spend quality time with their children and guide them on the right path.

With this approach, half the battle against crime is won. Accomplishing the other half will depend on the effectiveness of law enforcement and its various aparatuses.