Something about Sergeant Babu…

5

Written on 2/23/2009 12:20:00 pm by sikapitan

One business that is booming despite the recession is private security services. More and more streets around my neighborhood in USJ are turning into private roads manned by private security guards. I am still not convinced on the legality of this.

What if I still insist on passing through? Can the guard stop me? What if I refuse to identify myself? Can they force me? Would I be guilty of a crime if I don’t? Are they guilty of a crime when they force me to do things I have no obligation to do?

Anyway, this evening, there will be a community meeting for my street where I believe they will decide whether to hire mercenaries and guard our street. I am sure the answer would be a resounding yes. We cannot stop the tide. Soon, every community will be gated. Why?

Simple economics dictate that people act rationally to incentives and calculate cost-benefit subconsciously before arriving to decisions every day. In the case of privatized security, residents have increasingly accepted that the benefit of private security far outweigh the cost.

The cost of private security, in whatever form, has gone down dramatically. This is in part due to an increase in demand, leading to increase in recruitment of foreign guards. As the pool of quality guards (ex-police, gurkhas) decrease, more and more untrained guards are recruited from foreign countries, typically Nepal. These untrained guards are currently flooding our economy – cheaper price, lower quality.


Meanwhile, the cost of NOT having private security has increased dramatically. This is due to our population increasing at a rate far greater than the increase in the number of police officers. The “cost” for one resident to have police protection has increased simply because demand has outpaced supply. Less people can “afford” to have police protection; therefore more people are exposed to non-protection, leading to an increase in crime.

Criminals are also calculating the probability that they will get caught. As the police force spreads itself more thinly in the face of growing population, the probability decreases until the “benefit” of committing crime will outweigh the “cost” of getting caught.

Anyway, adept at we are at such calculations, I think we fail to realize the implication of this increase in demand for private security. Firstly, there will be an influx of foreign labor, not a problem in itself, but ironically this also increases the “cost” of police protection as the population increase.

Next, when we rely on private security from foreign workers to provide basic security in our community, we will further detach the police force from its responsibility. It creates a false impression of security, leading to the police not being able to forecast accurately the actual number of police needed to maintain peace and security.

All is well, but in the event of a mass exodus of these foreign workers, either through our own actions, or their own, there will be a sudden and massive breakdown in security. A breakdown that will not be anticipated simply because it was not forecasted.

Finally, there are the hidden social implications of a sudden and unnatural spike in foreign labor in Malaysia. The ratio of male-female will shift. The future composition of our society will also change in the future. More importantly, in the short term, there will be a problem of assimilation and acceptance. Without these, foreign workers will continue to be tied to their place of birth.

We are leaving the fate of our security ultimately in the hands of people who don’t have any affinity to our culture, people and nation. Is that worth the risk? Go figure…

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5 Comments

  1. shidi |

    It's scary just by thinking that 5 or 7 or 10 Indons breaking in our house. And God knows what will they do to our family, not just taking our property but even rape our sister or mother. Think about it. I guess we need this services.

     
  2. sikapitan |

    Yeap, totally agree.

    But we don't realize that in the long term, this solution will not help, but disable us from finding the most effective manner of reducing crime-rate.

    I am all for private security guards. In fact, we employ one for our own house (but he's Sabahan,btw) so I won't be hypocritical and say we shouldn't.

    All I'm asking is for the government to see this trend as worrying, rather than comforting.

    Then only they would try to find a better solution.

    Entahla....

     
  3. Anonymous |

    all idealistic talk and philosophy is easy....I know and agree with your posting.

    Let's figure what is the "cost" of changing our Police work culture? Remember IPCMC?
    Cost of changing civil service work culture?
    Where is the political will? Majority of politicians or civil servants are who? what kind of ppl?

    The public are left with no choice. Even when we voice out through the ballot box...they have the guts to ignore it....go figure

     
  4. shidi |

    I'm glad that these security services are provided in my neighbourhood. Hmm, tak perasan plak dorang ni local ke tak..

    As for me, selalu balik 3-4 pagi so when i see them patroling in their bike doing rounds, I feel safe.

    Tapi u pun betul gak, the govt (especially PDRM) kena ensure more patrol cars out there on the streets, especially around 2-5 am (the time where crimes are at the highest)

     
  5. shidi |

    I'm glad that these security services are provided in my neighbourhood. Hmm, tak perasan plak dorang ni local ke tak..

    As for me, selalu balik 3-4 pagi so when i see them patroling in their bike doing rounds, I feel safe.

    Tapi u pun betul gak, the govt (especially PDRM) kena ensure more patrol cars out there on the streets, especially around 2-5 am (the time where crimes are at the highest)

     

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