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Sunday, 15 July 2007

One for the books

BREAK-INS AND BURGLARY are not the most exciting experience, but these can certainly leave the most impression on the victims. Sometimes, the effect of media exposure on crimes may leave a numbing effect on the public unless, of course, it happens to our neighbors or us.
"Just a couple of minutes ago, we were able to catch in the act the person we suspect have stolen several laptops, and cellphones in the building.

We were able to identify him thru an earlier security cam video, and when he entered the office, those of us who recognized him went to all the exits to block him off. He tried to muscle his way out but we got him pinned down to the floor. He was caught red-handed with a stolen cellphone in his pocket.

A word of warning though,

a. These guys don't work alone. One of his cohorts would pretend to pin him down, but will try to slyly slip the evidence away. When somebody shouted the cellphone is in the fire exit stairways, he let go of the arm, and went ahead to check the fire exit. He never went back. He is still on the loose.

b. They target offices or cubicles that are blocked off from general view (like a cubicle that's right beside a building post, or a wall).

c. And if you think they won't come back right after a theft, you'd be surprised that they actually do.

d. Don't believe any crap coming out of their mouths."
This almost blow-by-blow account was posted online in one of the forums I am a member of. The incident, as with the above post, was dated July 2, 2007. The extraordinary value of this account is that the witness &mdash a forum member himself &mdash along with his office mates, took action, subdued the suspects and did their civil duty of reporting the crime to the authorities almost instantaneously, all the while being able to sound off other members of the forum by posting online (talk about some kind of citizen journalism). Fortunately, there were no casualties reported.

Well, the suspects' accomplices managed to flee (there were allegedly four of them), the subdued suspect was booked and the victims filed a case. Our member-reporter (let's call him 'CJ', aka citizen-journalist) also managed to secure clearance to post the pictures of the incident.

Does it end there? I believe it does not, as it only starts where we think it ends. We start by being vigilant and alert. Then we become cautious, probably spending on some security stuff for our peace of mind. Also, we start making decisions, like, do we actually react according to what is expected of us (e.g. call for help and alert others around us) or not?

Someone replied to the thread above, which I think is basic and very, very timely (and also echoes my sentiments):
"Though not totally theft-proof, it still adds a level of security especially when you're always alert and vigilant. Professional thieves have good instincts in detecting "qualified" victims."
Over and above it all, we do have a responsibility to stop a crime when we see one. Of course with this responsibility comes the risk, but if the criminals are allowed to get away with it once, what will stop them from doing the same thing all over again?
Photos courtesy of "CJ". Thanks for sharing.

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