Crime prevention begins at home

ACP Sasikala showing the Amanita logo during the press conference.

SINGAPORE - Buoyed by the initial success of Amanita, the "peace-loving women" concept started last October to get housewives in residential areas to be the eyes and ears of law enforcers, Malaysian police are taking the programme to the next level.

A trained policewoman will be assigned in each of the 167 police districts in the country. Housewives can report to these policewomen when they see any suspicious character or hear of crimes in their neighbourhood, The Star reported.

Assistant Commissioner S. Sasikala Devi, who is in charge of the project, said that to date, 41 police officers have been trained for this initiative in Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

Officers in other states would be receiving their training from next month.

"We expect the officers to be fully trained by January," she said on Thursday.

AC Sasikala said that many participants had given positive feedback after attending seminars and talks held under the initiative.

"We also had other events, such as sports and educational events, so that we get to know the neighbourhood," she said.

AC Sasikala said that the programme would help create awareness and give the housewives safety tips and information on how to prevent crime.

Bukit Aman crime prevention department director Commissioner Ayub Yaakob said the women officers are trained to engage the housewives and get to know local issues plaguing the community.

'Soft approach'

Labelling Bukit Aman's latest initiative as a "soft approach" to combat crime, Mr Ayub said the officers would interact with the housewives through activities such as playing netball, practising taiji and other community programmes.

Housewives and anti-crime groups are excited over the Amanita project to rope in women to help fight crime in neighbourhoods.

Voice of Women president Chew Hoong Ling suggested that the police formulate a structured long-term plan to ensure that those participating in the scheme are able to relay messages effectively to the police.

She told The Star: "There should be programmes to educate non-tech-savvy housewives so that they can relate messages fast and effectively use mobile social media tools."

Ms Chew added that the community policing programme should also be extended to house husbands and others who work at home.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye described the idea as "very practical".

He said: "Fighting crime should involve all sections of the community. Every Malaysian, irrespective of gender, can play a role in crime prevention."

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