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SNATCH THEFT One early morning, a mother and a daughter were walking to a bank.

As they were walking, the daughter was telling the mother how she hoped she could get excellent results in the next school examination. Knowing that her daughter was an excellent student, the mother tried to assure her that she will continue to do well in the exams. Their conversation was suddenly disrupted by a sudden arrival of two men on a motorbike. Without giving any warning, one of the men snatched the daughters handbag which later caused both of the ladies to fall. The daughter was unfortunate since the fall had affected her brain and later died after few weeks in coma. This is just one of the many incidents which are affecting Malaysians especially the innocent people. The question that has been frequently asked is how this social crime could be curbed. In the following paragraph, I would like to propose three ways to solve this rampant crime especially in high risk areas. The first is by increasing public awareness about the crime, second is by controlling drug addicts in crime affected areas, and finally is by involving different enforcement agencies in reducing street crimes.

Firstly, the public should be made aware of the snatch theft crime and how it could affect their life and also their family members. Programmes like anti-snatch theft campaign and seminars on personal security should be conducted for the purpose of educating residents on the importance of keeping safe all the time. Furthermore, women who are generally the victims of this crime should be encouraged to defend themselves. Rosmah Majid, the wife of the Prime Minister, stated that Women must be taught about personal security, especially when in public places where they are exposed to snatch thieves (New Straits Time, 2009). Pamphlets which contain tips to avoid being victims of snatch theft and list of emergency numbers to call should be distributed to the public. Since snatch thefts often result in death or injury to the victims, it is hoped that this programme would help to reduce and eventually eradicate this crime in this country. Secondly, measures to control drug addicts at crime affected areas should be carried out. According to Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin, the Federal Police CID Director Commissioner, there is a relationship between drug addicts and crime. From the police investigation, We found that 80% of such crimes are mainly committed by drug users to feed their addiction (The Malaysian Bar, 21 October 200 9). Since drug addicts do not have permanent income to enable them to buy illegal drugs, they usually resort to the quickest way to earn fast cash i.e. snatch theft. They do not have any sympathies for their victims. The incident which happened in Johor Baharu in May 2009, involving a pregnant lady who died after being attacked by snatch thieves, proved this. Thus, reducing the number of drug addicts could eventually help to bring the crime rates down. Finally, joint effort by relevant enforcement agencies and increasing the level of security could also bring down the statistics involving snatch theft. A joint operation

involving the public and other voluntary agencies such as Rela, Rukun Tetangga, Anti-Drug Agency and the Police Department should be constantly carried out. The presence of these officers however could not guarantee that the crime would not happen at all since these officers could not be everywhere at one particular time. Thus, other means of crime prevention such as installing more CCTV at crime prone areas should be implemented. In addition, the setting up of special courts for street crimes could also expedite the legal process. Thus, the above measures would help in achieving the aimed of reducing street crime by 20% at the end of 2010 as targeted in the governments National Key Result Areas (NKRA) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) (The Malay Mail, 29 July 2009). In conclusion, reducing the crime rate especially snatch theft which has caused trauma and prolonged fear among people in this country has become one of the main priorities of the government. In order to avoid this crime from getting out of control, the three important strategies discussed above i.e. awareness raising campaign about snatch theft, arresting drug addicts in high risk areas, and combined effort by security enforcement units, should be constantly and aggressively implemented. Furthermore, support and cooperation from the public would definitely help to ensure that this street crime will be eradicated from this country once and for all.