Tue, 02 Aug 1994

Crime inevitable in big city, Moerdiono says

JAKARTA (JP): Minister/State Secretary Moerdiono said yesterday that the presence of crime in a big city like Jakarta is inevitable.

"This is an accompanying problem which arises in the development of every major city of the world," Moerdiono said during a one-day seminar on the socio-cultural impacts of Jakarta's development.

Speaking on the city's potential as a showcase of future urban developments in Indonesia, Moerdiono said the perpetrators of criminal acts are usually those who feel alienated from their group of origin and thus operate in a anonymous atmosphere.

According to Moerdiono the rural people who come to the city undergo a massive psychological transformation whereby their lives are no longer attuned to nature but the high-paced activity of city life.

In Jakarta people are under constant pressure from the early hours of the morning to late at night. Social ties become loser and people tend to be more individualistic.

This atmosphere leads to the sinking of social values and control in the day to day actions of a person.

"It is reflected in the increase of crimes involving housing complexes and cars," Moerdiono said.

The brutal murder of Brig. Gen. TMF Tampubolon on April 14 in Cipinang, East Jakarta, the drug case involving starlet Ria Irawan, along with the impending Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Bogor and Jakarta in November, which is expected to attract several thousand foreign visitors to Jakarta, has caused officials to focus on security in the capital.

To alleviate these concerns, in April the city authorities launched the Operation Cleansing anti-crime drive involving army, police and marine corps personnel from Jakarta, Tangerang and Bekasi.

1,000 arrested

In just over three months, more than 1,000 people have been captured for various offenses, and 10 guns, 340 sharp weapons, 403,000 bottles of alcoholic drinks and almost four million doses of illegal drugs have been confiscated.

Moerdiono advocated social control as well. "Ethnic associations can function positively as tools of social control in reducing the sense of alienation which is a common feature in big cities," Moerdiono said.

The minister went on to warn of the potential dangers of large music and sports events.

He called to mind a music event last year which turned into a riot which resulted in the damaging of several nearby houses and a minister's car which was passing through the area.

Moerdiono was referring to the Metallica concert in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, where Minister of Justice Oetojo Oesman's car was vandalized by angry youths.

When packed together in a limited area, people can lose control and commit acts of a violent nature, he said, while calling special attention to the problems presented by such mass gatherings. (arf/mds)