Broken Windows

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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Monday, August 18, 2014

THE City of Cagayan de Oro has never been more vibrant. Now sprawling with urban development and high commercial growth we’ve all come to grace its unique and accelerated transformation from a very quiet center to now a rival in economic growth even against the giants of Manila and Cebu.

A few years back it was easy for someone who came from Manila to bring a long some notable donut brands, now the challenge has been for the Kagay-anon to bring in something that the city doesn’t offer, name it we have it, and if it isn’t here now, it will be here soon.

But amid this exponential growth, a lot of unwanted elements have piggybacked its way to our once relatively peaceful city, just like the busiest metropolis of any country we have now witnessed a string of crimes in the city, from small robberies, to mall level heists, stuff made of primetime news. And this isn’t something to be happy about either, an alarm to a city that doesn’t want its limelight on the front page when it comes to crimes; after all we are supposed to be the city of golden friendship.


The question now is how did this come about? I don’t believe systematic crime like this just sprouted like mushroom, the infestation started a long time ago, and one that continued to be built right under our nose, and I guess after all the bright lights of our increasing urbanization few ever really did take notice of what was a cancer-like growth in our own backyard.

And it is not that the urban poor is the problem, they are victims too. It’s that we’ve allowed ourselves as a community to stand idle and not demand for changes, whether it is in the implementation of rules, or in the lack of vigilance in our city streets, the growing urbanization has also made us all largely indifferent, only concerned of the luxuries and the comforts without figuring out what the costs through the bigger picture.

In the broken windows theory, crime prevention often is scribed to start first in the community. That by maintaining order in a small environment we prevent further harms – and criminal activity developing. Now under no circumstance is this theory always true, but we can always take certainty in the fact that keeping our communities safe and shielded from exploitative elements is one of the many solutions we can take.

Crime after all is an evil element that preys on the most vulnerable.

So maybe we can all start by developing better habits – and also demanding accountability from our law enforcement agency, but while they will ultimately handle the complete reduction of crime it doesn’t mean we don’t have our own shared obligations.

The more our city grows, the more development comes in, we cannot forget that these liberties can only be best enjoyed when we are safe from harmful elements that seek to break the peace. When we can fearlessly walk the night and just enjoy the city and all the lights without fear of getting mugged or robbed, while we follow traffic rules of course.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 18, 2014.


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