Monday, August 9, 2010

No place is safe, actually

LAST week, two boys on a motorcycle tried to snatch my wife's gold chain. We were jogging through a residential area near Danau Kota - a route which we considered to be safe. The wide pedestrian walk provided safety for joggers from passing vehicles but we did not expect to meet snatch thieves.

I wanted to go on a run that day but my wife said she would rather walk because of the evening heat.

She asked me to run and wait for her at a designated spot ahead. We had done this many times. Since there was still daylight and good pedestrian traffic, I was not worried.

However, after running several hundred metres, I felt uneasy and doubled back. At a bend, I saw her walking towards me.

I felt relieved but when I came within hearing distance, my wife told me that two youths on a motorcycle had just tried to snatch the gold chain I gave her 15 years ago.

She said she was about to cross a junction between a side road and the main road when the snatch thieves rode up to her from the side road.

The pillion rider grabbed my wife's chain but she held onto it. The chain snapped and the thieves fled empty handed.

Although my wife screamed to alert those around her, no one from the nearby houses or burger stall came to her aid. I said I was not surprised. In fact, I would be amazed if any of the people who heard her came to her rescue. These days, Good Samaritans are rare.

This was the second time my wife had encountered snatch thieves. The first was 12 years ago.

I had been delayed returning home from work one evening and she had to take our daughters, then aged 7 and 10, for a haircut. As she and the children were walking to the hairdresser, two snatch thieves came from behind her on a motorcycle and grabbed her handbag.

My wife refused to let go of the bag. The pillion rider tried to kick my youngest daughter. Fearing for my daughter's safety, my wife let go of the handbag and the snatch thieves rode off. Shopkeepers who saw the incident did not lend a hand, nor did the passersby.

When my wife told me about it, I said she should have thought of her safety first. Give the thieves what they want but stay calm and note down details such as their motorcycle model and registration plate number. Although the plates are often fakes, the information could be useful to the police.

In last week's incident, my wife failed to note down the motorcycle's number. I don't blame her. Who could remain calm when taken by surprise? Although we notified the police at a station which was just a five-minute walk from where the incident occurred, I doubt they can do much.

I was relieved that my wife was not hurt but I am angry because the snatch theft occurred in a neighbourhood that I thought was safe. The thieves got away but can their luck last forever? I hope they get what they deserve one day.

When people tell me crime is on the rise in the city, I used to tell them to move to the suburbs. Now, I am not so sure anymore.

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