Leaving us high and low

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By Myke U. Obenieta

So to speak

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SUPPOSE there was a chicken crossing the road, would it be worth the while for the police and other stakeholders of public safety to ask why? If only it could goad them off the grim path gone steep with the same old sigh. After all, enforcing the law has remained tricky, as good as a riddle or a joke, as far as trends in peace and order go.

Stop and talk awhile. Done with that, the community must have reasons to either smile or smirk over the authorities’ achievements or the lack thereof.

In the United States, peace and order may be as fancy as lovers out for walk in the park free from the fear of muggers. It seems some of their law enforcers may be handy with a high-five over a news account about “crime rate at lowest point in decades.”


Regardless of the recurrent concerns about homeland security, “America is safer now” as experts appraise the significant decline in crimes such as “murder, rape, and assault… since the early 1990s.”

Connecting the dots over the dodgy nature of criminality is no longer a skull-cracking scratch, explains a professor of Criminal Justice in a university in Virginia who formerly served as a cop in Maryland. "Now we have databases and computers,” thus he crows about how breezy it has become to zoom in on the so-called hot spots through the “changes in technology and policing.”

Hats off! That’s how the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) can hope from the local community if they must measure up to the head-in-the-clouds hype from the homepage of the “the most livable city for all.” But such cocksure swagger would have made more sense if the beaks of lawbreakers were far from pouncing on our streets and neighborhoods.

Last we heard, after the city mayor minced no words of dismay over the reported “rise in the crime volume” in the first trimester of 2014 compared to last year’s holiday season when the sense of plenty usually proved perfect timing for “pickpockets, confidence schemes, acquaintance scams, credit card fraud, carjacking, robberies and assaults.” How could we help the CCPO, wondered the chair of the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (Pcac) so the city council’s gaze “will reach some of the solutions and keys to crime prevention.”

Stop the bold but empty boast about being “the most livable city for all,” to begin with. Or, reckon the scofflaws’ chuckle louder than the whimper of the Cebu Association of Travel Agencies whose president noted the CCPO’s constraints “to respond and assist the victims of crimes, or even on traffic accidents, due to the lack of vehicles, radios and other equipment.” In other words, get real! How relevant to the community’s needs is the city’s homepage, for starters?

Last we looked, the website is far from being comforting as if it cared less about “Public Safety”— one of the main features in the official website of New York City apart from its user-friendly links for business, civic services, culture and recreation, education, environment, health, housing and development, social services, and transportation.

In stark contrast, Cebu City’s homepage with its high-flying slogan can only brace
itself against the loftiest expectations and most odious comparisons. Such as against upscale New York, for instance, or even laidback Kansas whose own website not only challenges the community to become street-smart against felony but also collaborative with its Crime Stoppers link that renders it convenient to convey anonymous online tips to the police.

Apart from financial rewards, it’s reassuring for the populace to be considered a crucial part of the equation against the enemy: “You, the citizens of this community, can help be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.”

Until our local authorities get down to earth, they can expect more hackles to be raised against them. That’s the least to be done, of course, from the rest of us at the crossroads, waiting to win if our authorities would wind up fit to wear feathers on their caps. Or with all the world to lose, knock on wood, when headless chickens running in circles would be all that could remind us of our cops.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 15, 2014.


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