Lam Thye: 'Safe-city initiative' helps curb crime in M'sia

ADELAIDE: The "safe-city initiative" by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) has been a significant contribution by a non-governmental organisation towards crime prevention in the country, said its vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

Lee told an international crime prevention conference here the initiative was basically an MCPF project designed to create a safe living environment, minimising the opportunities for crime to take place.

In the Malaysian context, the safe-city initiative represented a good example of positive partnership between the government and citizens working towards crime prevention through environmental design, community development and education, he said at the four-day "Crime Prevention 2011 and Beyond" conference attended by law enforcement delegates, members of the judiciary, academics and senior crime prevention delegates from the Asia-Pacific region.

"The move entails the mobilisation of all relevant parties like planners and architects, developers, voluntary organisations, local authorities and residents to work in partnership and implement initiatives for crime prevention," Lee said.

"What is even more significant is the fact that our safe-city initiative gathers all relevant parties to custom-design solutions to existing problems and to anticipate and prepare for solutions to safety issues within the locality."

Lee said it had been established that the fear of crime was 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," he said.

"The concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) has as its basic premise that the proper design and effective use of the physical environment can lead to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime, thereby improving the quality of life."

Among MCPF's activities was to establish a safe-city committee which would be chaired by a residents' representative, preferably the chairman of the residents' association, and comprise representatives from the local authority, the police department, the MCPF, the relevant government agencies, NGOs, the developer and professionals such as architects and planners.

Lee said the occurrence of crime was a reminder that the people must never take safety and security for granted.

"It is appropriate that the 'safe-city initiative' be implemented to mobilise community efforts in crime prevention," he said.

"While we recognise that the police have a major role to play, 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 take part in crime prevention efforts.

"Besides contributing towards crime prevention, the safe-city initiative also aims to build strong neighbourhood links and forge greater community cooperation 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 concept can help foster and strengthen inter-racial harmony and unity in our country," Lee said. — Bernama
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