Public Co-operation Needed to Help Police Battle Crime
Before we rush out to point a finger at the Police about the recent spate of robberies, we need to look at the issue in a proper perspective. Thieves and robbers will strike for multiple reasons. They are usually unemployed and are desperately looking for cash, food and something that gives them that adrenalin rush. They are unpredictable and can hit any where, any time. The victims they target usually have what they are looking for.
The reality is that the Police cannot do it alone. The battle against crime is not the exclusive domain of the Police.
It is all our responsibility. The fact is the Police cannot be every where. They just do not have the resources to do it. They are usually stretched to the limit when they receive several reports of crime at the same time. Members of the public have an equally important role to play to keep our communities safe. Police need our co-operation and assistance in providing information that will lead to the arrest of suspects. In fact many of their arrests are done based on public intelligence.
So it is crucial that in the wake of the recent spate of robberies, that we should increase our vigilance in the fight against crime. Neighbourhood watch schemes should be resurrected if they had died and the ones that exist need to be strengthened. We should all be watching out for each other and if we see any suspicious persons or activities in our neighbourhood, we should contact the nearest Police station as soon as possible. It is always good to err on the side of caution. It means we are not taking any chances. So the possibilities of something happening that is unpalatable are greatly reduced. That is the benefit of the neighbourhood watch scheme.
Our other important responsibility that highlights prevention is we must do all we can not to tempt criminals. For example, if you are going away, secure your house and let your neighbours know how long you are going to be away for. Cancel your newspaper delivery for that period and keep your security lights turned on.
For vehicle owners, if you are not taking your car, maybe park it in your neighbour’s yard and at a relative’s compound.
The carjacking incident at Lautoka taught all vehicle owners to either turn off the engine and take the key with them or keep the engine running with people inside and all the doors and windows closed and locked. Most of these practical tips are just plain common sense. We must support the call by Police Commissioner, Brigadier Sitiveni Qiliho, for the Police and the public to work hand in hand. If we are proactive, as Brigadier-General Qiliho said, we will give little or no room for criminals to strike. If we band together, not only will we make our communities safer, the criminals will soon get the message that we do not condone their activities. The arrest of more men, suspected of being involved in the carjacking of a family vehicle in Lautoka last week, has come as a relief not only to the victims but to the public at large. The Police, who often get unfair criticisms, must be commended for their swift work in this case. It is understood that the rest will be arrested soon. Police must have done it with the help of some members of the public.
If this partnership continues to grow, we will see the fugitive highlighted in this newspaper, the suspects in the break-ins at a Waila Hindu temple, home invasion suspects in the west and three men who robbed a taxi driver in Namadi Heights, Tamavua, Suva, yesterday, brought to justice soon.