Panaga nat’l housing sees drop in crime

National 2 minutes, 29 seconds

BELAIT

INCREASED supervision through neighbourhood watch patrols from the Panaga National Housing Scheme has contributed to the drop in crimes in Seria, according to its chairperson.

Hj Hassan Tuah, who heads the 34-member watch for 2,000 households under Panaga's National Housing Scheme, recently said the drop in reported crimes from January to September last year coincided with joint patrols with the Royal Brunei Police Force that began in February.

The late night patrols he said, targeted the housing scheme's five main roads of Teripas, Keruak, Puragam, Kalajiau and Parak, as well as its three entry and exit points, two along Jalan Tengah and another entering from the highway.

Seria police station's records show that there were 179 reported crimes from January to September last year, down from 197 from 2014.

“The wider community has become aware that there is a neighbourhood watch that conducts patrols at random, so that perception and increased presence has been able to lower the number of crimes happening,” said Hj Hassan on Saturday after an official appointment ceremony for the Panaga neighbourhood watch.

Offences noted since February during patrols mostly comprised traffic violations, but the neighbourhood watch has also identified security risks, including residents who leave there doors and windows unlocked at night.

“We noticed quite a few residents leaving their windows and doors unlocked, and sometimes even open at night. Sometimes these residents are at home, while on other occasions they have left for holidays,” said Hj Hassan.

The chairperson said residents are advised to inform the neighbourhood watch focal point for their road if they are going on leave, so that the house can be supervised from time to time.

The patrol also recorded households that left their open burning without checking if the fire was completely put out, risking the spread of fire to nearby households in high winds.

“The houses in Panaga 2000 are either terrace or semi-detached so everything is quite tight-knit, residents need to make sure they take care of their safety, because it not only jeopardises their own home but potentially the connecting row of houses,” he said.

Beyond patrolling, Hj Hassan says the neighbourhood watch has also supplied information to the RBPF on suspicious activities taking place during routine days.

“We are also committed to helping the police with any information that could potentially help ongoing cases or lead to an arrest, so another key role for a member is to be observant and alert,” he said.

Hj Hassan added that the watch is looking to recruit more residents, after its 34 members were officially appointed with five-year terms on Saturday.

“Thirty-four people to monitor 2,000 homes are not nearly enough. Since one of the main ways the watch succeeds is through boosting presence, more active members will further enhance its crime deterring effect,” he said.

The village head of Mumong Yang Berhormat Hj Mohd Yusof Dulamin and officer-in-charge of the Seria police station ASP Mohd Zulhelmi Azmi Dato Paduka Hj Abd Aziz were present for the appointment ceremony.

The Brunei Times