When confronted with a snatch theft or robbery situation, it is important to keep cool and to be a loser.
It was an opportunity to present Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & snatcH’s (MARAH) efforts to a global audience. The invitation included a session where each speaker mentored university students in coming up with a realistic and workable solution to the subject they had presented on.
Last year you probably would read about crimes in the newspapers or you were remotely connected with the victim…he/she is so and so and so and so’s great grand-niece or friend of a friend of a friend..a hundred friends down the count.
Today if you strike up a conversation with someone you will hear a direct account from a victim or the victim is someone known first hand to the person you were speaking with.
Today, crime has arrived at our doorstep.
Crimes are not committed solely by any single race or class of people. Crime is committed by people of all origins and backgrounds, and its effects are felt by all in society, not just those in direct contact with the crime.
In the end, all those who are involved in active society end up experiencing some effect of crime.
Thinking that it can only happen to someone else and doing nothing to prepare yourself or not taking the necessary precautionary measures makes you the perfect soft victim criminals are looking for.
A crime always happens when an unprepared and unaware victim offers an opportunity and the perpetrator seizes it. It is important to have both a personal and a family game plan to respond to such emergencies.
Be responsible citizens
What is the effect of crime on society? Trauma, emotional and psychological effects on the victims, their families, loved ones and friends, loss of income, loss of business, loss of property, loss of life, loss of security, anger against the government, politicians more interested to cash in on the issue to gain political mileage than to look for solutions.
Then there’s the cost of catching/trying to catch the criminals; when caught, the cost of prosecuting them; when convicted, the cost of housing, feeding and providing medical care to them.
And then there’s the intangible cost of fear and loss of trust. We fear because we feel we have lost control of our environment.
Think about leaving a restaurant or shopping center and walking to your car: you are vigilant and fearful. Think about a knock on your door at 9 pm – you won’t want to open the door without checking to see who’s there first.
I ended my talk by asking everyone to play their part as responsible citizens. If people don’t report crime or come forward as witnesses it can be hard for the police to solve cases and bring criminals to justice.
I left the audience with this thought – any crime committed is one crime too much.
The mentoring session was a real eye opener for me. I learned as much from the teenagers as they did from me.
They were very intelligent and inquisitive but they also didn’t have a clue on how to deal with a potentially dangerous situation or any awareness on the proper response to a crime in progress. There was this disconnect with the current crime spree.
Better to be a loser
In my talk earlier I had stressed that when confronted with a snatch theft or robbery situation, it was important to keep cool and to be a loser. It was better to give up your money and iPhone and be alive than to be a dead hero.
Whether it was the influence of TV shows or just the gung ho attitude of youth, many of them said they would actually tackle the perpetrator alone if there was a chance of wresting the parang away and taking him down.
I had to explain that crime is usually committed due to desperation and a need for things that can’t be attainted under normal circumstances.
When criminals breach such a moral limit, they are liable do anything without a regard for the consequences. This is very dangerous, for when someone has a “nothing to lose” attitude, they lose the sense of reason.
The recent incidents where criminals shot at the police attest to this.
Our ability to reason is what makes us different from the other species on this planet, otherwise we’re no better than animals. In fact, animals only get violent out of hunger or the necessity to defend themselves and their young so perhaps the human species may be worse than them after all.
With that, as we enjoy our upcoming Deepavali festivities and long weekend holidays and gorge ourselves with food, let’s remember and thank the people out there working to make this festival break an enjoyable event for the rest of us.
Happy holidays and stay safe always.
Dave Avran is the founder of MARAH (Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & snatcH)