Crime can happen anywhere at anytime, it is not just limited to affluent areas or the rich. Criminals are opportunists, they strike when there are opportunities, whether or not you have a luxurious home or car. Hence, we shall not create such opportunities for them, but how?
In this article, we will be sharing on how to prevent crime in the neighbourhood / at home as (i) a developer, (ii) a community, and as (iii) an individual.
1) What can developers do?
Property developers can incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) into their developments. CPTED is a multi-disciplinary approach to deter criminal behaviour through environmental design. Its strategies rely upon the ability to influence criminal decisions by affecting the built, social and administrative environment of the property/neighbourhood area.
- Sidewalks / Walkways
It is important to keep sidewalks safe as residents usually use sidewalks for walking, jogging, and running. Planting bushes along sidewalks can greatly help prevent snatch theft. The bushes will act as a barrier between the criminal and the victim. However, developers should take note that these bushes requires timely trimmings as they should not grow too tall or thick, else it will be a perfect hiding ground for criminals to make ambush. One that looks like the image below would be decent.
Are the roads wide enough? As most Malaysians ‘double park’, this causes traffic buildups; providing opportunities for snatch thieves to strike at motorists stranded in the jam. Wider roads are especially needed around school areas, where parents park along the roads waiting to pick up their children.
- Parking Lots
Most condos provide 2 parking lots per unit, some even lesser (depending on your unit size), while most families own more than 2 vehicles nowadays. Many will be forced to park somewhere outside the condo (like image below). Once again, this can cause traffic buildup and also promote car theft. Thus, developers should focus on allocating more parking space in their projects, not just maximize space to increase profitability.
- Building’s Structure and Fixtures
Building structures if done right can help deter crime, and if done wrong could encourage crime. The image above shows a spot-on example. A ‘blind wall’ is where a wall has no windows, doors or any form of openings. Having cars parked at a blind wall area creates perfect opportunities for car theft, as there is no surveillance. Developers should take note of this, or at least ensure that blind wall areas are brightly lit and have CCTV surveillance.
- Liaising With Emergency Departments (PDRM & BOMBA)
Inspector General of Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar highly encourages property developers to seek advice from the RMP before commencement of any development plans as the police can help to pinpoint features in their development that can promote better safety.
On top of that, developers can also put in a request with the RMP for plans of stationing a police station/post in the neighbourhood area.
2) What Can A Community Do?
Area residents can set up a neighbourhood watch (Rukun Tetangga) where a group of residents agree to help keep an eye on one another's properties, patrol the streets, and report any suspicious incidents.
Neighbourhood watch committee members can also seek support from local police during night patrols in order to incorporate more experienced manpower when patrolling.
3) What Can YOU do?
Everyone can make a difference no matter how small the effort is. Each of us as an individual play an important role in preventing crime.
One should stay up to date with crime prevention techniques and how crime works, either by going to workshops or obtaining information online.
Help from the Authorities
Most of the house break-ins occur during festive seasons when many city dwellers return to their hometowns. Do you know that you can fill-up a “Borang Balik Kampung” at your nearest police station before heading off to your hometown? It is a form to notify the police when will you not be around in order for them to patrol the area more often. You should include descriptions as detailed as possible about your house. For example, whether the porch light was left on or off, so that patrol officers will know what to look out for when they come patrolling. If anything happens to be different from your description, they can quickly check for suspicious activities.
How would you know if police officers did patrol your house when you were gone? They will leave a note at your letterbox once they are done with patrolling. The “Borang Balik Kampung” can be downloaded online, you can find it here.
Creating An Illusion… (Impression)
Other than that, some other crime prevention measures include leaving the lights and fans on when you are not around. If you will be away for a long period of time, in order to be more eco-friendly, you may set a timer for electrical appliances (e.g. lights, fans, radio, air-conditioner, etc.) to turn on at specific times. This will give an impression that the premise is occupied. Find out what is an electrical timer and how to use it here -
To Sum Up
To prevent crime is to create an environment not conducive for crime to take place. Everyone of us be it developers, communities, or individuals are responsible for protecting our homes and neighbourhoods.
Do you know of any property developments with CPTED implementation in Malaysia? What are some other crime prevention methods do you practice? Come share it with us below!
Check out 'Safety Features to Look Out for When Buying A Property' here
Here are some of the crime cases happening on daily basis.