Thefts and burglaries a cause for concern

By The Editorial Board 03 April 2024, 10:00AM

It is a cause for concern that there are so many cases of theft, burglary and shoplifting being highlighted. The arrest rate is a little more to be desired but it is not a good reflection for the society.

A businesswoman expressed dismay over constant theft instances that remain unsolved, constituting an ongoing threat. Faumuina Sami He, the owner of the Whanau Stores stated in an interview with Samoa Observer that her stores had experienced numerous break-ins, all of which were left unsolved despite her providing the police with written reports and security camera footage.

She has now taken the step of promising a reward to anyone who could identify the thief with accuracy. Out of all days, the recent theft was at the Sinamoga Whanau store on Easter Sunday.

Apart from this incident, certain areas have noted an increase in the number of house burglaries. There have been a few videos uploaded on social media where members of the public are seen stealing clothes or items such as butter.

There are groups of youth, you can call them gangs waiting outside nightspots who would pick on drunk patrons and rob them clean. According to some people, these things are new.

What could be the reason that is causing people to steal? The first reason that is given is poverty. It may be true that poverty levels are higher but there are people out there who have shown that hard work is all one needs.

Look at the preschool teacher who left her profession and started selling vegetables. This is not to rule out poverty. It exists that is why there is an increasing number of street vendors and now you can find them in all age groups. There are even girls who are working around the town area selling things.

There is a danger in this. The girls are more vulnerable to sexual advances and research on child vendors has shown that there are unsavoury characters out there who would not even spare these children.

The Australian Government has provided close to WST$40 million as direct budget support for CHOGM yet there is no social assistance to vulnerable families and not enough is being done to keep the vendor children in school.

The other reason being given is the high prevalence of meth in the country and users who are often unemployed have resorted to stealing and robbing to afford the drugs. This is a trend that is true in most countries where the meth epidemic has spread or rather allowed to spread.

The businesswoman revealed that there was an instance when the same store was broken into, and the thief threatened the elderly woman who was her mother-in-law with a knife. This is very sad. Now there are guns out there and there is a feeling that homeowners and businesses would also resort to such methods to protect themselves.

An interesting comment made by the same businesswoman was that she owned four branches, three in Upolu and one in Savaii. Of these, only the ones in Upolu have experienced burglaries. Why could this be happening?

As more and more people try and live closer to the urban areas, there is always a danger of uncontrolled and illegal settlements. Certain areas within Apia have experienced that and one of the outcomes of that is that these settlements give rise to criminal activity because they do not fall under village guidelines.

Unlike in Savaii where the control of the village council is stricter and tradition is observed much more closely. That is something for the mayors of villages closer to the city to think about.

We have to remember that police cannot be ever-present. Right now, they are even having difficulty in getting enough numbers for CHOGM. In some areas, neighbours can get together and form a neighbourhood watch where people take turns to watch certain areas and perhaps create patrols at night.

Crimes like these shatters lives, leaving victims traumatised, injured, and heartbroken. They devastate communities, inflict economic harm, and breed insecurity in public spaces and homes.

By The Editorial Board 03 April 2024, 10:00AM
Samoa Observer

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