Friday, October 06, 2006

Petpositive in Malaysiakini

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Crime: Elderly, disabled most vulnerable
Anthony Thanasayan
Sep 29, 06 6:20pm

We welcome the news that the police are planning to use closed-circuit television technology (CCTV) to combat crime in the city.

We would like to point out that the elderly and people with disabilities are one of the easiest targets for snatch thieves and muggers. Contrary to what some people might think, robbers have no sympathy for the disabled but instead find them convenient targets.

The elderly in snatch-theft incidents have a much higher risk of being killed through injuries or becoming permanently paralysed. The shock alone of experiencing such trauma can be fatal. Disabled people like the blind or those in wheelchairs can’t chase their assailants or run for assistance. The Deaf can’t cry out for help in an emergency.

Persons with learning disabilities, on the other hand, may not be able to express themselves clearly when they are in danger. The public should be vigilant of these scenarios and always look out for such weak and vulnerable persons. Never hesitate to rush to their aid should a situation occur.

The police, meanwhile, should treat distress calls by the elderly and the disabled with utmost priority and urgency. They should set up a special hotline via text message for the Deaf to call the police. Police stations should be equipped with disabled-friendly parking next to their entrances.

Wherever possible, CCTVs should be placed in areas around handicapped parking bays, etc, where SOS signals from such persons can be picked up and acted upon.

The writer is president, Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (PetPositive).

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