It is becoming frighteningly apparent that it is just a matter of time; a matter of time and opportunity and circumstance, and that momentary lapse in vigilance. It could be even where the greatest of caution is exhibited. That is not humanly possible to maintain over the long run. Something has to give.
It is unclear as to what could be made to give, since the thinking and feeling by many are that all are the equivalent of fish trapped in a basket, and all are at the mercy of that shocking, violating moment. It is that moment of realising too late that there is a man (or men), a weapon (usually a gun), a vicious criminal intent (give up or go down), and an arrangement at retreat (a car or motorbike). Life itself is at stake.
The thriving marketplace has been squeezed, so they scatter and go elsewhere. Individually or in groups, there is a population of marauders waiting to swoop on the unsuspecting, the unwary, and the unconscious. As is becoming increasingly clearer, too many times even the precautions of vigilance and commonsense are not enough, as they fail to safeguard. More and more, there is a rising sense of vulnerability, of the streets closing in, and the streets themselves becoming, deteriorating, into as ominous as any dark, dangerous alley in the grittiest part of town. Town and country have descended to this grave state.
It should be said with much accuracy, that there is no place, no neighbourhood that could be considered as reasonably safe. Not Queenstown, once reserved and a warning to intruders: Stay out! Mind manners. Watch ways. Know place. Not anymore. For anywhere is fair game. The Queenstown(s) and Alberttown(s) and Subryanville(s) and Bel Air(s) (and the rest of those once pristine communities are neither off-limits nor out of consideration. The arm of the law is too short and made shorter by induced twists and warps.
In fact, lack of concentrated police visibility in most places render pedestrians and generally isolated travellers into prime targets to waylay and relieve of property, while scarring psychologically and leaving hapless citizens looking over their shoulders. Citizens are at a serious disadvantage whether distant or near. Believe it or not, the story could be the same (though usually not as pronounced or frequent) in heavily populated areas of the busier parts of the city.
The markets are a haven for a different kind of hit-and-run: where the fleet of foot younger, prey upon preoccupied and nervous passersby, shoppers, and the occasional tourist adventurers. It is pounce and go, as in gone and lost amidst the swarming, racing crowd. The arm of the law is not only short, but the presence of much-needed uniformed bodies is glaring in paltriness. That thinness of numbers is alarming and terrifying for the law-abiding and those who have no choice but to be on the hard, troubled road.
In addition, the vicinity of the Georgetown Hospital is crowded with many feet, many eyes, many spaces tightly occupied. Yet there is this phenomenon of vehicles tampered with (mirrors) and, incredibly, batteries removed with consistent frequency and mostly undetected. There are guards all around, vehicles and drivers and foot soldiers and vendors and patients going back and forth, and still these crimes occur. It could be urban or rural.
What are the answers? The first has to be manpower. The second has to be doing something about ranks, who may be more unconscious as to duty, developments, and environment than those sedated in operating theatres. The third has to be about strategising better through fewer men in machines and more on the pavements.
The fourth, of necessity, has to be a police-private sector partnership. There is no block without a slew of businesses anymore; collaborate and capitalise. Aggressively, not passively. Plastic must be accelerated to supersede paper (cash). And when all else fails, stay indoors.
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