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How to prevent street crime

Posted by on May 9th, 2007
Filed Under: General, Guides

Although Malaysia is considered as a safe country to travel and to live in most regards, street crime is a major concern these days with figures of street crime rising steadily in recent years, especially in major cities Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.

Stealth methods of Street crime are a norm in large cities: pocket picking, bag slashing, and bag snatching. But recently there have been more reports of muggings and violent robberies.

However, by being aware of personal safety and the practice of good safety precautions, you can avoid putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation that may lead to these incidents. It is all about being aware of a potential problem before it happens and that is where my tips on how to prevent street crime from happening come in.

In every street crime incident there are always three aspects – a victim, an offender and an opportunity for a criminal. The criminal is always on a look out for easy target, if you are showing precaution to put off his intentions, he will move on to someone else.Thus best way of breaking the “triangle of street crime” is to remove the opportunity and this can be done in a number of ways.

#1Be aware of the environment you are in at all times, stay clear of unfamiliar places and dark alleys, even when you are in a small sized group of 2-3. If you feel insecure of the environment, the best thing is to get out of it at the earliest opportunity. Potential street crime problem: Mugging, bag snatching.

#2Walk against the traffic flow! Same as #1; be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on traffic and the people, especially in tourist areas. Ladies try to walk inside the path beside a man, even if it is a stranger. Potential street crime problem: Bag snatching.

#3Travel light and keep personal items out of sight, especially when having a meal, do not leave your valuables (cell phone, purse, bag, pouch etc) on the dining table or empty chair even if you think you got your attention on it. Criminals are very good in create a diversion and you soon find your things missing. Potential street crime problem: Pocket picking, stealing, and bag snatching.

#4In any crowded place such as a bus, train, market, entrance to a busy place – anywhere where people are packed close together, guard your bag, wallet, camera, jewelry, wrist watch, and anything else of value. Put your hands crossed on your chest with your bag in-between them. Potential street crime problem: Pocket picking, bag slashing, and bag snatching.

#5Keep your backpacks in front of you where you can see it when in crowded area; Bag-slashers will get behind or beside you in a crowded place, slash your bag or pocket with a razor blade and collect your valuables. You don’t see or feel a thing. Potential street crime problem: Pocket picking, bag slashing, and bag snatching.

These apply to different situation that you probably might find yourself in:

#6When in bars / clubs, never get too drunk; you might wake up without your wallet. As for ladies, do not leave your drinks out of sight. Potential crime problems: Mugging and rape.

#7If you are driving, always lock the doors, and never leave your personal belongings unattended when you get off the car. There have been cases where a rider on a motorbike will open the car door and take the items and ride off.

#8If you plan to visit any mosque, wear some old flip flips (which you should be able to get it cheaply everywhere), as you will be required to remove your shoes before entry, and there have been cases of missing shoes.

Remember, that the prevention of street crime is the best cure for it from happening. With an increase in individual awareness, potential opportunities will decrease, and this will in turn dissuade offenders from trying.

You can do a part in making Malaysia a safer place to travel in by being more aware of your own personal safety.

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10 Responses »

  1. Good tips!

    Cheers 😉

  2. The safest way is to avoid the crime infested area in the first place.

  3. […] From the Malaysia Travel Guide article: […]

  4. Good and straightforward tips on keeping yourself safe, whether in Malaysia or elsewhere! Pay attention to them and stay alert. Here are a few of my own: http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2006/07/28/common-sense-personal-safety/

    But when it comes down to it, no matter how much preparation you make and precautions you take, sometimes crime is just unavoidable.

    I had all the recommended safeguards, such as purchasing a steering lock for my car and avoiding dark, lonely places. But in the end, I was robbed inside the house I rented in the dead of night. The protection of a steel grille door and an alarm system failed to deter the robbers.

    You don’t get much safer than a fully-locked down house, but even that is not an absolute guarantee. One burglar/murderer even cut through the metal roof of a house to get in before!

    But the majority of criminal attacks in Johor Bahru seem to take place just outside the house in suburbs, especially at around dawn and dusk. Carjackings are also common, sometimes with the passengers still in the car.

    Criminals today have an increasing tendency to inflict bodily harm first, and grab your belongings after. Rape and murder are not taboo, sometimes even intentional after the looting.

    My advice if ever forced to defend yourself or friends (from rape, murder or mutilation) – Move quickly with surprise, go all out, show no mercy, gouge out the eyes and run as soon as you safely can. It’s them or you.

    So don’t go looking for trouble (or letting it leer at you)… Trouble is out there looking for you!

    Extra reading with links to more reading on crimes in Johor Bahru: http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/05/17/malaysia-travel-guide-on-preventing-street-crime/

  5. What if the entire city you live in is crime infested?

  6. Every step towards crime prevention is a step towards a safer society, be it a small / big step.

  7. Very good tips. Malaysia is a wonderful place and well worth visiting, if you keep these tips in mind you can minimise the risks of theft.

  8. Some good tips – but how do you prevent a crazy moped driver from threatening to throw a steel bar (d-lock) through your window when driving to work? I can see no reason for him doing this other than that I am a Westerner. This happened to me on the way to work this morning and tarnishes the whole of Malaysia. Oh, and I’ve had other similar experiences in my 6 months out here.

  9. its a good tips. but how to reduce crime in our places? can anybody tell me? other than lock and alarm security

  10. Thanks for the good tips. Wish i had read them earlier. But i don’t think certain crimes can be prevented – you can only escape out of a situation with presence of mind if you are into it.
    I had an instance few hours back when i boarded a taxi. while it is common in malaysia to go by flat rates and not by meter (3 times the meter amount is generally charged!), there is no explanation why someone would ask 5 times the metered amount that even without saying anything at the start. When i want to get down (less than 2 metres of ride), he speeds up – saying he would drop me ‘little ahead’ and keeps speeding!! well, i’ve had other instances where people have tried to snatch my purse as well!!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?