A surge in snatch thefts which occurred daily in Section 20 Taman Paramount in Petaling Jaya causing residents to fear for their safety.
The residents then decided that it was time to do something to stop the crime and came together to form the Skim Rondaan Sukarela (SRS) or Voluntary Patrol Scheme to patrol the hotspots which resulted in a drop of the incidents.
“Since we implemented the SRS, there has been a drastic drop in the number of snatch thefts,” the current chairman of Paramount Garden Section 20A Rukun Tetangga (RT), a Neighbourhood Watch group, Kong Poh Heon told Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY).
“The daily patrolling is a deterrent for a snatch thefts to occur”.
Kong said the SRS team of more than 20 members conducted patrols on foot and on bicycles at crime hotspots in the neighbourhood at designated times in several groups in early mornings and nights.
“During our rounds, if we see any suspicious characters or activities in the areas, we note down the number plate and type of vehicle and will contact the police immediately.”
“We work closely with the authorities and the police has been very helpful and they even send their officers and patrol cars to patrol jointly with us,” he said.
The deputy chairman Cassian Baptist said, he and Kong were part of the new RT committee formed in 2008 and the SRS patrolling started a year later in 2009 due to high incidence of snatch thefts which occurred in the daytime around 7.00 am.
There is an LRT station in the neighbourhood and most of the snatch theft victims occured there.
“Snatch thefts occur almost every morning on Road 22 and Road 17.
“These were people going to the LRT station and the thieves took the opportunity to waylay them,” Cassian said.
The snatch theft cases were reported to the police who sent their personnel to monitor the area.
However, they could not be there all the time to monitor the area and it is noted, if they were present, the thieves dare not act.
Cassian said, “We went to Jabatan Perpaduan Negara dan Integrasi Nasional (JPNIN) to officially apply for SRS.
“Once we got the approval, we informed the police by giving them the list of members involved and started our patrolling in the morning and the snatch theft incidents declined.
“After that we started patrolling at night because there were also incidences of snatch thefts occurring .
“During our patrols we waved at the residents and they smiled and waved back at us and they talked to us when they have issues to highlight to us or suggestions to give to us,” said Cassian.
As yet, they have not caught any snatch thieves but they managed to catch a flasher.
Cassian said he hoped more residents will join the patrolling team, “with more members, we can increase the frequency and the number of hours of the patrols.”
The SRS patrol is seen as an effective means of enhancing general feeling of safety in the neighbourhood.
CJMY then spoke to a group of three ladies who were walking to the LRT station after work.
“We feel safer with the presence of SRS members,” said Berry Lim who was with her sister SH Lim and friend Yuka.
An SRS volunteer Francis Roger, 73, a retiree, has made his house the beat base for the SRS.
Meetings are held regularly at the base which is also the meeting point for SRS members on duty.
He said he joined the SRS to offer his social service to the community.
CJMY contacted Balal Polis SEA Park OCS Inspector Gunam Resul who has full appreciation for the efforts and initiatives taken by Taman Paramount Section 20A RT.
He said cooperation between the residents and the police to fight crime together is important to keep the neighbourhood safe.
“Our men conduct joint patrol with the Taman Paramount Section 20A RT SRS members and this joint policing will help ensure a safer environment in the neighbourhood.”