The Vice-Chairman of Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye yesterday recommended the implementation of ‘safe-city or safe-neighbourhood initiatives’ projects in Sabah to help fight crime and create a safe living environment for all. The ‘safe-city or safe-neighbourhood initiative’ is basically an MCPF project designed to create a safe living environment, minimizing the opportunities for crime to take place. In the Malaysia context, the ‘safe-city or safe-neighbourhood initiative’ represents a good example of positive partnership between the Government and citizens working towards crime prevention through environmental design, community development and education. The move entails the mobilisation of all relevant parties like planners and architects, developers, voluntary organizations, local authorities and residents to work in partnership and implement initiatives for crime prevention. What is even more significant is the fact that our ‘safe-city or safe-neighbourhood initiatives’ gather all relevant parties to custom-design solutions to existing problems and to anticipate and prepare for solutions to safety issues within the locality. It has been established that the fear of crime is as serious as crime itself. The use of environmental psychology and environmental design can contribute substantially towards eliminating the fear of crime and reduce crime occurrences. Basically, 10 activities will be undertaken in connection with the implementation of the ‘safe-city or safe-neighbourhood initiatives”.
• Selection of project area in consultation with the Police;
• Identification of target groups in the project area;
• Explaining the concept to the target groups;
• Setting-up the safe-city committee for the project area;
• Identifying crime issues and problems by the target groups and the safe-city committee;
• Solving issues and problems by the target groups;
• Implementing suggestions on crime prevention;
• Monitoring the effectiveness of suggestions and making amendments if necessary;
• Documenting project activities; and
• Monitoring the safe-city concept and continuous follow-up action.
The safe-city or safe-neighbourhood committee will be chaired by a resident’s representative, preferably the chairman of the resident’s association, and comprise representatives from the local authority, the police department, the MCPF, the relevant government agencies, non-governmental organizations the developer and professionals like architects, planners, etc. Lee said the implementation of the ‘safe- city or safe-neighbourhood initiative’ requires concerted effort and cooperation between all parties concerned with the community - from city planners and architects who design the environment, developers who build it, Government officials responsible for administering the community and the residents who live there - all working towards creating a safer living environment. The occurrence of crime is a reminder that the people must never take safety and security for granted. It is appropriate that the ‘safe-city or safe- neighbourhood initiative’ be implemented to mobilize community efforts in crime prevention. While we recognise that the police have a major role to play to combat crime, the responsibility is not theirs alone. While Malaysia is a comparatively safe country to live in, its citizens and residents should always be conscious of the need to be vigilant and help participate in crime prevention efforts, said Lee. Besides contributing towards crime prevention, the ‘safe-city or safe- neighbourhood initiative’ also aims to build strong neighbourhood links and forge greater community co-operation which are essential in our multi-racial society. Through such initiatives and working towards a common objective of building safer cities, all those involved in the implementation of the ‘safe-city or safe- neighbourhood initiative’ can help foster and strengthen inter racial harmony and unity in our country, Lee added.