You read and hear about increasing snatch thieves incidences and robbers on KL streets. When people talk, they consciously and subconsciously imply that streets in KL are getting more unsafe. But odds are, if you're a working professional who drives to work, your chances of encountering a snatch thief is low.
Most who drive don't walk the streets much, reducing their exposure to perhaps walking with your colleagues during lunch time, to the car park or shopping. Their vulnerability to the 'City Elements' are thus much limited. Even a visit to the ATM machine, done sensibly, will not put these demographics at much risk to snatch thieves.
Of late, I have increased my exposure to the 'City Elements' and within days of exposing myself, I was nearly a victim of some petty city robbers.
About 8pm, menacing clouds with lightning flashing, people were hurrying home and so was I. Arrived at the Pasar Seni LRT stop but decided to checkout some interesting visuals before taking the escalator up (you know…that can't get enough…want more sort of thing).
I was about to go down the covered walkway opposite Central Market when I held back. I turned behind and caught a guy wearing a cap square in the eye as he passed me. I didn't think much as I was looking for a picture. Moments later a few others pass me. Then they pounced on an unsuspecting person in front of them. They were only about 15 meters away from me. I wasn't sure what was going on. They surrounded the guy and one kept watch while the others pinned him to the floor. There were some yells. I thought they were fooling around, then thought it could be a gang fight so I just stood there. By this time people had gathered behind me (I was frontline)…then those muffled yells became recognisable…"tolong…tolong!"
Some hawkers yelled at them, but I sensed in their (hawkers) voices as if they were not serious…and somehow still at ease with the situation. The struggle continued as they tried to pull his wallet out from his pants (I think). Then some other youths appeared and gave chase. Thats when they dispersed.
If it was a robbery, I felt really useless after that. I was the closest and I just stood there throughout the ordeal. Camera in my hand and the thought didn't even cross my mind to make a picture. Geez! is what I can say about myself.
Would you have compromised your own safety to help? I think that is a hard question to answer truthfully.