Aerial view of Kuching south city

How safe is your neighbourhood? Barely half of people living within Kuching South City Council (MBKS) jurisdiction said theirs are safe.

This was revealed during a presentation of a survey by a communication consultant, Toman Mamora, held at MBKS here yesterday.

Toman was engaged by MBKS to conduct the survey on residents to get them to honestly say their piece on the level of safety in their respective neighbourhoods.

The presentation was part of a dialogue session on crime prevention involving the council, police and community leaders.

According to Toman, respondents lamented the growing incidences of crime within MBKS area with 52 break-in cases and 32 car thefts within the past six months reported while the actual numbers are higher but unreported.

“Community associations are also lacking, and when they do exist, they cater for a very large population, like in Tabuan Jaya and Kenyalang Park. They are also not interactive enough with low frequency of activities and dialogue session with community leaders,” said Toman.

It was pointed out that neighbourhood parks are generally not well maintained, hence depriving residents of opportunity for a common area for social convergence.

Aside from that, all neighbourhoods reported a sizeable number of bad experiences with the police and most would not lodge report against them because it is perceived as ‘wasting time’ and inaction.

The survey was a joint effort by Toman and community leaders of housing estates under MBKS jurisdiction held from Aug 2 to 10. With the population of 40,000 in seven zones, half of them were surveyed.

Residents forwarded various suggestions to step up crime prevention measures in the MBKS area.

State police chief Mohmad Salleh who was present said he will look into the recommendations and informed those present that the police is in the process of improving its image.

He said his department was planning to find out why people did not report incidences of crime or on errant policemen.

“Action will be taken against errant policemen who fail to do their job. We cannot let their minority group to tarnish our reputation,” said Mohmad.

“I promise that as long as I am in Sarawak I will make sure the police are productive.”

He added that the police would look forward to better cooperation with the public.

Earlier, MBKS mayor James Chan told those present that it was not possible for the police to be on patrol everywhere at all times.

He said what was crucial to crime prevention was collective commitment of authorities and the people.

He hoped that through the dialogue session, the people would be able to work closely with the police for the benefit of everyone.

He added that though the session held was the first it would not be the last.

Meanwhile, Environment and Public Health Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh who also spoke said fighting crime should not be left to the police alone.

“Only with collective effort can we totally minimise crime in our midst. I appeal to community leaders and the society in general to become better aware of their surroundings,” said Wong.

Also present were Assistant Police Commissioner Wong Wai Loong and MBKS deputy mayor Mohd Amin Hassan.