Saturday, September 12, 2009

Burgeoning "Gated" Communities In the Klang Valley

I get the sneaking suspicion that before long we would be seeing every road in housing estates "closed" and manned by security guards.

Due to rising crime in neighbourhoods, residents fear for their safety and haveresorted to having security guards man the entrances and exits of the roads in their housing estates.

It used to be a few roads in a few housing estates or neighbourhoods. Now you see more and more pockets in housing areas with roads closed and manned by security guards.

Roads in these neighbourhoods are allowed to be closed, if about 90 per cent of the residents affected approve of the plan.

The police, it seems, are all for it. This is what I am unhappy about, and I'll tell you why.

But, first let me say that I do understand people's fear about intruders in their homes, and in broad daylight in some cases. Their family's safety is paramount.
The fear is real. It happened to your neighbour so you worry. A police report was lodged. But, before any arrests were made, another neighbour fell victim.

Now, I think it is okay to close up minor roads or cul-de-sacs that are hardly ever used by anyone else other than the residents. But if it is a major neighbourhood road, I think it is not fair to other residents.

These roads do not belong to the residents. they are public roads. The residents are not paying for the roads.

Yet, I fully understand their predicament. I am not trivialising their predicament, nor their safety.

The first time I got somewhat infuriated was some 10 years ago when residents around Jalan Setiapuspa (where Jakes Charbroiled Steak restaurant is located), "closed" up the road, disallowing people to park their cars on the embankments.
I thought it was not right.

Some years later, residents along Jalan Taman Pantai had the road closed. The road is a through road which I frequently used (and still do) to get home from Bangsar.

But, it was (and still is) closed from midnight to 6am. I thought that was ok.

I think people are really desperate and are left with little choice when it comes to safeguard their homes and families because they have given up on the police to take care of security and safety in their neighbourhoods.

But closing up their roads --- where and when will it end?

Here is where I am most unhappy with the police who should have the security and safety of neighbourhoods as their priority. Agreeing to roads being closed up certainly makes life a lot easier for them, I reckon. Perhaps, they're short on manpower.

You see, nothing much ever happens in all our neighbourhoods -- except for (day & night) burglary, robbery and snatchthefts. You see what I mean.

Last year, in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, houses along the same road were broken into -- within a short span of time apart.

I'm sure you have your own story to tell.

Now that the Home Ministry has worked to beef up the police with more voluntary personnel, let's hope that the police have more than enough officers and men to patrol our friendly neighbourhoods, and increase police presence.
Surely, now, keeping the neighbourhood safe, can be high on their agenda.

We cannot let our neighbourhoods turn into "no-drive zones".

Besides, when it has come to residents having to resort to closing up their neighbourhood roads and paying security companies to man them, it really reflects poorly on our police force.

It reminds me of private housing areas in some third world countries where political instability and sky-rocketing crime rates (among others) make it necessary to have guards at the gate.

Anyway, right now, the only ones happy about the current state of affairs, are the "syarikat-syarikat keselamatan".

31 comments:

Lenggong Valley said...

My hse in tmn tun's rahim kajai area was broken into twice in a year! The first found my niece held up at knife point and second my laptop and camera stolen. I'm not questioning the authority's attitude but I have to take care of my family at home!

Tok Kemuning said...

Well the police having enough manpower to man every illogical corner and downhill of the HIGHWAY to stop motorist for speeding and issuing them speeding tickets.

The robber, thief and snatch thief probabaly not a prime target for the police. The regular guy like us is a good target for almost every day especially during festive season like hari raya.

It is look like it is easy to catch a good guy like us than those criminals. It is all about money perhaps.

Man Ysf said...

That's why people in kampung2 is very particular about semangat kejiranan..you have to 'bergaul' with your jiran2..be nice, 'bertegur sapa', 'ambik tahu', involve in all the kampung projek (gotong royong, kenduri etc.).. All these are useful for crime prevention, detecting outsiders (suspicious??) the moment they step in your kampung. Back in my kampung for example, if you 'berselisih' with someone, it is compulsory for you to smile and greet the person eventhough you don't know them. This will sent a signal that you are friendly and does not have any ill intention. Failing to greet , people would say you are arrogant and if you are unlucky people would say to you "Belagak nye!! Mau gaduh??". But here in Klang Valley, people don't bother to even raise their brows to their neighbour. In my area, newly moved neighbours don't even bother to invite us for the house warming even my house is just two house away. In my kampung, this neighbour's house may be burnt to the ground for this kind of arrogant manner.
Interestingly when their house is being robbed they SUDDENLY started to go around and asking people to do RT (Rukun Tetangga) - This is so funny, all this while they don't acknowledge your existence, don't even invite you for any social functions and suddenly become interested in your 'tenaga' for RT...what a snob. The same thing applies for gated issue. I think it is born out off securing 'self-interest' rather than any communal need bcoz if you look closely sometimes those who are strong supporters of gated community are not actually interested in their neighbours well being anyway.

Wan Hashim said...

Not so long ago, there were efforts to increase number of police bits in most of the neighborhoods. In other words, the community wanted to have more of police presence to deter criminal activities. What happen to those bits now? Somehow I agree with Man Ysf about the importance of semangat kejiranan to overcome the never ending issues related to criminal activities in everybody neighborhood.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

lenggong valley,

i do understand. i know, we are all in a dilemma because we're talking about danger to our lives and our families'.

i am all for the police being proactive in neighbourhoods.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

tok kemuning,

i know exactly what you mean.

by the way, you hve not updated your blog.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Man Ysf,
i know. people lead different livs in urban areas...that can be so tragic.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

wan hashim,

that neighbourly spirit has long gone. now it is me, me and mine.

Anonymous said...

malaysia maa....every where you go in the world, people talk about us.....you see, we are a multi racial, multi cultural and multi religious country, ...and very very peaceful, we never fight each other, we respect each other maa..., some more very very beautiful, people ah very very friendly one....you know, everyone wants to come here......you see, singaporean are very jealous of us.....the indonesians ah thought we are like heaven you know. Our government oso very caring one.....our police force is the best in the world you see....the police can solve almost all of our crimes....musa hassan our igp says this on tv you see.....our democracy is the best in the third world you know ah?.....this country is very very good.

I locked my gate every day one.....sure lah, our house got gate maa....if we say gated community, very good maa....the value of the property very high maa....economy the government say oredi recovered maa.....our house ah can sell higher price maa....

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,

I live in (Jalan) Medan Athinahapan 2 in TTDI and I fully agreed with your comments.

Although my house has never been broken into or my family been crime victims, I take all the basic precautions such as switching on porch and back lights at night, etc. More importantly, I believe anyone flaunting their wealth (luxury cars, extensive renovations) are just making themselves an attractive target to criminals.

I'm certainly not going to pay for any Gated & Guard scheme so that my neighbours can carry on with their careless & foolish activities such as walking at night, leaving their doors/gates open/unlocked, etc.

However, it comes down to a matter of law which as you've rightly pointed out doesn't allow any private takeover of any public roads.

I sympathise with Lenggong Valley for what happened to his/her family but this is not compelling enough to impose 'martial law' on everybody else in the neighbourhood.

As a prominent Malaysian royalty has mentioned recently that democracy doesn't mean mob rule!

artchan said...

Can it be these sykt keselamatan is conspiring with small time thieves and burglars to make it unsafe so to sell security services?

Many years ago, we heard of tow trucks business..creating accidents, etc ..to generate business.

What happened to the Police..?? good question..arresting people wearing black, lighting candles..hiding behind trees, I do not know whatever for but i know you won't catch burglars by hiding behind trees.

nstman said...

Hishamuddin and Musa have been doing a lot of talking of late. They talk about making the country safe even as the crime rate rockets. Who can blame the people from blocking roads in their housing estates in the wake of the frightening crime statistics. There is genuine fear. And fear begets visceral reactions. My advice to Hisham and Musa is very simple - do something, and stop talking. We have had enough of trash talk. We have had enough of politicking, We have had enough of robbers and rapists. We want action. We have had enough of the muck and lies.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

With and KPI etc etc in motion.... Doesn't the PEOPLE WITH THE POWER notice that our IGP who have just undergone a Heat Bypass be made to allow to retire so that someone WITHOUT HEART DISEASE can do a better job?




Joe Black

Anonymous said...

NS

aren't we a third world country with political instability ( in some states at least) and sky rocketing crime rates everywhere........

Anonymous said...

It's just treating the symptoms, people. Honestly,just how many cops do we need for this and if this is even doable? If you don't deal with the core issue that sparks of the problem - penduduk tampa izin thugs - as we all are aware of, we'll see in no time we need more than gates to protect. It's bad as it is already, we are the prisoners in our own homes while the bandits are out there. We must demand the authorities concerned deal with the problem by the horns. Wake up people. It's already too late.

Anonymous said...

Rumah kami dimasuki pencuri tahun lepas antara 2:30-5:45PM. Buat laporan pukul polis 9:30PM. Polis datang siasat 11:00PM.

Kami tunjuk ape-ape kemungkinan kpd polis. Dah malam jadi tak nampak jelas. Kami ingatkan mereka akan datang esok bila siang. Harapan jelah ....

Esoknya kami jumpa beberapa 'bukti' baru. Buat laporan lagi. Pegawai penyiasat beritahu kaunter balai, akan call bila perlu. Hampeh.

Siapa lagi yg boleh diharapkan ?

Semakin kayalah 'syarikat keselamatan'. Mana silapnya ?

Nani Cheras

Mior Azhar said...

Kak Ena,
I fully agree with you.... just come to USJ today and you'll get work up unnecessary as you can't get around that easy anymore.... roads closed gave rise to traffic jam here la.

I lived in a condo with its own security (which is okay la. But to get to our condo, the only access road is through a bungalow-residential area which recently has been gated. Now people coming to my place have to go through two security checks... urrgh!

Btw,
Selamat Hari Raya... Maaf Zahir Batin!!! (jangan nangis ya now that Adel is jauh diperantauan heheeh)

Anonymous said...

I'm suspicious about these 'security' firms. My neighbourhood was relatively safe until break-ins, snatch thefts and car hijackings started to occur.

There was talk that someone started going around knocking on doors to offer 'security'. Most agreed to have thier road sections 'secured'.

I wonder if those criminals and those offering 'security' are one and the same.

If so then I fear the extortion business has taken root in our neighbourhoods where gangsters are making easy money. I wonder who else is making money out of other people's misery.

Anonymous said...

Every month we pay so much taxes. And yet we still have to fork out more $$ for basic necessity like security, healthcare and education. I don't know what the govt does with our tax money

patriot jawa johor said...

dear kak ina,
i dont think its very nice to accuse police of trying to make their life easier in this instance. their perdicament is the same as ours. last year's Raya, my next door neighbour in kuantan got his house broken into by theives. he is the Pahang traffic police field commander. then there was that Johor Baru South district police chief who was held at knife point by robbers at his home several months ago. personally, i think our police are trying their best. yes, there are still some room for improvement but i do hope we can also support them when they are doing their job well. If we hantam them every time and everyday, they may one day just give up and do just the required minimum of their job. i do believe there are good dedicated policemen out there who are sincere and even willing to put their life on the line for us even though their pay is not that very grand. however, if we continue to unfairly discredit them in general terms, i fear even these dedicated cops will one day give up. They had been called names such as "anjing kerajaan" by members of the opposition - yet the very same "dogs" are the one who are actually protecting them. I believe our police deserve quite a lot more credit than that.

Anonymous said...

Ask the local councils take care of traffic, they have traffic units anyway. Ask highway operators to set up traffic unit to take care of their roads and road users. So that the police can reassign traffic cops to crime unit.

Windtalker

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

anon@5:36PM: okay, maa.

anon@10:41AM: we're practically neighbours.

you know...as i have said, with the rising crime rate, i do understand people's fear.

i mean, when i first moved into my neighbourhood, i didnt have to close my gate. my kids played badminton on my driveway, but they do take a bit of the road. Of course, I'd be with them, on guard for passing cars.

we take walks in the evening.

some years later I had to instal an automatic gate. that was a necessity.

now you see almost every house in housing estates is equipped with automatic gates.

we're heading there...to that big bad world.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

artchan & anon@7:59AM: makes us wonder, doesn't it.
i hope we're wrong about that.

nstman: yes. I agree. we want action!

joe black: a new lease of life, they say, after a bypass.

anon@5:35PM: oh...when I'm cynical..yes. But, really, no. we have our problems. but, no.

anon@8:50PM: Yes, wake up, people.

nani cheras: alahai...apo nak di kato?

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

mior: yes, i heard about subang jaya residents' dilemma. it is a real problem because closing the roads caused traffic congestion in the affected areas.

i hope the problem can be resolved.

selamat hari raya to you and your family.

alaaah...memang terkenang adel sorang di canada.Raya will be so different without him!
I hope dia dah buat kawan dapat ber-raya.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

anon@8:53AM: they spend on this and that.

wind-talker: residents' associations should bring this up.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

patriot jawa johor: oh dear. i am not whacking the police because they're easy game or because everyone else is doing it.

i appreciate their role.

but in this instance, frankly, i believe that greater police presence in neighbourhoods would definitely deter bad hats and potential robber and burglars.

About 10 years ago, around 2am, i heard rattling at the gate and light shining at my window. i looked out and saw a police car and some people. I was stunned. i thought i was going to be arrested.
at that time i was alone because my husband was on call.

I knew the policemen outside were not impostors because of the presence of the police patrol car.

actually, they told me that they were patrolling the area because a resident had called about some noises in the area. they came to check the backlanes and shone their torchlight on the backyards of several houses.

the policeman told me that they saw my padlock somewhat broken and thought that my house had been broken into. when i did not respond earlier enough, they thought something was amiss. but opened my window to respond and then came down to see them, they were quite relieved but asked me to check the padlock on my kitchen grille at the back of the house.

i told them that i had actually slipped a broken padlock as the grille did not really need to locked as the actual kitchen door is locked and the back gate was also locked.

anyway, they accompanied me to my kitchen just to be sure.

they advised me to padlock it anyway.

they apologised for "menganggu".
i told them it was ok to mengganggu for all that. I thanked them.
i really appreciated what they did, never mind if my sleep was disturbed.

a few years later,when i had my house renovated and while i was away in port dickson, my very alert neighbour saw some intruders at my house. they called me and the police.
so prompt were the police that they caught one of the intruders. but another who must have been hiding got away.

years later, the police called me to say that i could collect the stuff that were taken by the intruders after the conclusion of their trial.

i'm not sure if things are the same with the police these days.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

sorry, folks. in my reply to patriot jawa johor, i have left some sentences that sound really awkward.

Mr Bojangles said...

...and so further down the road to turd worldness we go.

Education system questionable...pay for private tuition.

The ooze from our taps like the mud in the Klang river...fit a water filter. Or two or three.

Police too busy elsewhere...jack up your security by paying an annual toll to enter your own neighborhood; turn the country into a concentration camp. Very soon every mat rempit will have a job patrolling our neighborhoods.

Makes you wonder why we bother to pay our taxes. And why the CEOS of our privatised companies, like Indah Water, are paid millions.

They say its because quality comes with a price. They say peanuts will attract only monkeys. We may then not even have any water coming out our faucets. Or any security.

Keep lowering the bar. Zimbabwe was once where we were two decades ago.

patriot jawa johor said...

Dear kak ina,
i do understand yr concern about this matter. But being in JB who some described as the Malaysian crime capital, i think the police are indeed improving of late. For this, i wish i can point to u to articles in nst johor streets which people in Kl hardly see. Yes, crime is still a problem in JB but the police seems to be on top of things by being much more pro-active nowadays. Just the other day there was a story about a "police ninja team" roaming the streets around the neighbourhoods of jb. They are supposed to specialised in catching snatch theives and wayside robbers. It is also common these days to see police patrol cars going around the neighbourhoods here. Some even have their blue lights on, probably just to scare off potential criminals by their presence. To me, they are not doing too badly. Yes, they still need to improve but they are not as bad as some would want us to believe. Anyway, thanks for the space Kak ina and happy hari raya.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

mr bojangles : aah...your cynicism is so infectious.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

patriot jawa johor: you know what...you are so lucky to have a good police force down south in johor.
they are relaly doing a great job.
and the crime rate there is alarming.

that's the thing. we need the kind of policemen that you have!

thank you for sharing. and i hope the johor policemen continue to do what they've been doing!