Malaysia Property News is a free resource website sharing Daily Property News & information about Property in Malaysia, which related to, Property Market, Property Investment, Commercial Property , Hot Properties Malaysia, Real Estate, Retail Shop, Business Park, Condominium Malaysia, Terraces & Apartment Malaysia, Houses, Residence, Resort and many more.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Promoting safer neighbourhoods

ABRIDGED versions of gated and guarded enclaves in older housing estates are sprouting up in many parts of the Klang Valley.

Increasing urban crime rates have compelled many residents to put up with the inconveniences of having their housing estates barricaded and turned into “fortresses”.

As one colleague whose USJ11 house was broken into last year says: “Even the police admit that break-ins and robberies have become almost daily occurrences and there has been a sharp spike in such crimes in the Klang Valley.”

The residents’ associations need the support from at least 85% of the residents to get approval from the authorities to implement the security schemes.

Those who have supported the scheme swear that it has drastically reduced crime in their neighbourhoods.

The opponents, however, say that the fences, guard posts and barriers are an inconvenience to the residents and the public, especially visitors, because some public roads have been sealed off and are not accessible.

While peace of mind and security used to be a given fact just a few years ago, today it comes with a price. Each household that has signed up for the security scheme has to fork out monthly fees of around RM50 to RM55 for guards to be stationed at the main entrance of their housing area and for a 24-hour patrol.

There is also the inconvenience of having to forego the easy access offered by open roads around the neighbourhood. Because of the barricades and fences, residents have to take longer route as well as be screened by the guards before entering the cordoned housing area.

Business operators in these housing estates, especially food operators, lamented that their businesses have suffered tremendously since the barricades went up.

The promoters of the security scheme should realise that any closure of roads must not create a hassle to residents or hamper the movement of emergency services.

The scheme should only be an interim measure and not be turned into a permanent feature in our housing estates. This is because under the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974, it is illegal to put up barriers that obstruct access to public roads.

Provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 may also be violated where guard houses are built on public land or road shoulders. To address some legal issues which have cropped up, the Housing and Local Government Ministry intends to come out with guidelines for such guarded schemes.

Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha is concerned over the absence of proper guidelines for these guarded community housing estates that have resulted in state governments and local councils introducing their own guidelines and by-laws which differ from one locality to another.

Ultimately, it is important to address the root causes of crime and to seek more sustainable measures to curb it. Local communities and law enforcers can play more effective roles in fighting crime in housing estates.

Hopefully, the RM1bil allocation pledged by the Government to beef up the police force will be deployed wisely and efficiently to rein in this rising social menace. More regular patrols by plainclothes policemen should be effective.

Volunteer patrol schemes and neighbourhood watchgroups should also be deployed to combat crime in residential areas. If properly implemented, such patrols will promote stronger understanding and ties among residents. Reinstating good neighbourliness will certainly go a long way to promote safe neighbourhoods.

Those who are averse to barricading the roads should resort to mobile security patrolling instead. Developers can also play a big role by designing their new housing estates in a more safe and secure way. These housing areas should not “share” entry and exit points with other neighbouring projects.

Preferably, each neighbourhood should have more cul-de-sacs and less through roads to minimise access, noise, air pollution and promote pedestrian safety for the residents.

Deputy news editor Angie Ng believes all Malaysians deserve to enjoy the bliss of secure homes and public places.

By The Star

No comments: