…It's Also An Evidence of Police Abandonment of Security The Masses
By: Bill Jarkloh
Hundreds of residents of Monrovia have been holding meetings intended to formulate vigilante forces to counter and help curb the increasing waves of armed robbery in the city, but these vigilante forces or community watch teams may have their own disadvantages that could operate against innocent people.
However, the meetings come in the wake of persistent attacks of armed robbers on peaceful citizens at varying intervals around the city which continues to claim lives and victimized people under the cover of darkness.
One of such meeting was held at the G. W. Gibson High School Campus where residents of Perry Street and Capital Bypass converged and expressed their misgiving of the persistent armed robbery and criminal attacks on peaceful people under the cover of darkness.
The residents cited the instance of a recent visit of the armed criminals when the marauding armed robbers raged hell on the Perry Street where they victimized an entire family, chopped the wife and wasted acid water on the son and his father. The armed robbers also reportedly surfaced in New Krutown where two of them were fortunately killed in the Point-4 area while two others who were escaping to seek protection under at the Magisterial Court were chased by residents who almost mob the court and nearly set it ablaze to release the robbers to them.
On the other hand, residents at the G. W. Gibson meeting cited other incidents of armed robbery instances that were reported from the Paynesville, Old-Road Sinkor and other areas. They noted that the worst feature of this menace is the staying away of police patrols from coming to the rescue of the citizens from the robbers armed with machetes, rifles and/or pistols when emergency numbers publicized – for instance 911 and 355 – are rung. The robbers are sometimes armed with knives, sticks and deadly acid water of late.
“Apparently, the government is unable to curb the armed robbery as evident by the reluctance of the police and UNMIL security forces to rescue victims ,” a resident remarked, saying, “the residents must move now to take their own security into their hands.” This is evident that the government is reneging on its security responsibility, if people should take their own security into their hands.
The meeting was attended by Montserrado County Representative Rufus Neufville who donated L$10,000 to the community residents for the upkeep of the Community Watch team – otherwise referred to a vigilante group.
People's Security & Its Odds
At present, watch teams are all over Monrovia. They are the new anti-armed robbery forces that have basically took over police duties. Instead of police patrols to scare away the criminals at night, watch teams are all over the place, creating difficulties for ordinary travelers at night, who might have genuine reason for staying up at night. The dangerous thing about the watch-team vigilante groupings in neighborhoods or community is that it restricts free movement across communities or one may innocently be considered criminal and innocent harmed by members of vigilante groups or community teams an enemy of his may be serving on which he may not belong.
Besides, the vigilante kind of security that springs up as a result of police reneging on security responsibilities may victimize one e whose detractors may see him at night going about their normal routine or perhaps making his way home.
Finally, the idea of Community Watch Teams or formation of vigilante groups across the city is though helpful in curbing the increasing wave of armed robber, it is equally hazardous. Its hazard is constraints posed to neighborhoods or insolvent community members, the possibility of such security platform being used by some enemies against their possible targets, the restriction of free movement and the mob action against perceived, accused or suspected criminals that may deny them access to the criminal justice system that should establish their innocence and guilt and therefore set them free or proscribe penalties for equitable to the gravity of their offence(s).