Editorial: Robber-proofing

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Friday, March 9, 2012

ROBBERS, it seems, are doing their thing with impunity; breaking into homes, robbing helpless girls and women, seemingly sneering at the warnings of Vice Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte. Not even the death of two men has scared them. And because there are still robbers aplenty, it seems they have even ignored the warning to leave Davao.

A challenge has been thrown and now the robbers are throwing the challenge back. Come and get us, they seem to say.

In the interim of not knowing who will win, one resident after another and some visitors too, fall as prey.


It is now for the Dabawenyos to ask themselves: Will we allow this to continue?

While we do not recommend arming civilians to protect themselves, since the proliferation of guns just create more trouble than solve any criminal problem, what we are saying that we as a people can be vigilant without the vigilantes. We can, as one community, robber-proof our neighborhoods by making these places hostile to strangers and making each and everyone mindful of what is going on around his or her house.

Start with getting to know your neighbors and being accountable for your small patch of friendly neighbors. Watch out for each other and report every suspicious activity. It’s a return to the close-knit neighborhood we had when Davao City was not yet a lumbering 75-year-old megacity, where neighbors know every neighbor, and every new househelp and errand boys within the vicinity. Where everyone is concerned about what is going on across his front yard and backyard.

For so long, we have been so preoccupied with our own lives, we barely know the faces of our next-door neighbors much less know their names. And thus we created in these impersonal spaces in between homes, offices, and schools, a fertile breeding ground for crime that stalks our family members. It is in the unknown where evil breeds, and the greater the unknowns in our neighborhoods, the greater space and time we are allotting for our family members to fall victims to those that slink in the dark.

This does not mean we are letting the police off the hook. Peace and order is still their mandate, crime prevention and solution too. But as stakeholders in all these, we have a role in how best to lessen the likelihood of becoming a victim.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 10, 2012.


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