Mon, 03 Oct 1994

Rapid development changes Tangerang

By K. Basrie

TANGERANG (JP): Tangerang has rapidly changed. The changes can be noticed in all aspects of development, such as buildings, public and social facilities and population but, along with the development, Tangerang has also seen a rise in criminal acts.

The rapid changes of the 125,500 hectare town, located in the northwest of the city, have been recorded just in the past three or four years, thanks to the massive construction of jumbo property projects by private sector developers.

Several huge integrated office and housing projects have been constructed in the area, including the Lippo Village and the Gading Serpong projects.

The completion of Lippo Village, located next to the exit gate of the Karawaci toll gate, may change the area into another "Thamrin", the name of the main avenue in Central Jakarta where skyscrapers, office buildings, prominent businesses and shopping centers are situated.

The rapid changes, as usual, bring about both positive and negative impacts to the community and its surroundings, particularly in relation to the massive flow of local and foreign newcomers moving to the "new" town.

In many cases, crime tends to increase following the substantial increase in population.

Although the crime rate in Tangerang is still relatively low compared to the other areas in and around the city, local police see that the heavily mixed population could easily spark a serious problem in the future unless all members of the community, particularly foreigners, can respect each other and work together to eliminate crime.

In a recent interview with The Jakarta Post, Tangerang police chief Lt. Col. Tjuk Sugiarso, urged foreigners to further adapt themselves "properly and wisely" to the cultural traditions of the local people in order to create harmony in the neighborhood which, in turn, could help keep order and security in their neighborhoods.

Home of criminals

Tangerang is now a town of some three million, most of whom are low-income people. Ten years ago, there were only 500,000 people.

In the early 1980s, Tangerang was widely known as a home to notorious criminals.

At that time, even the head of a small neighborhood in the area had to use "voodoo" to make his people, who were mostly criminals, obey him, commented Yusuf, a senior resident of the Curug area.

"We really hope that foreigners can learn and understand at least certain aspects of our culture before coming here," Tjuk said.

He suggested that rich Indonesians moving to the town not set up an exclusive border.

He also reminded foreigners to treat their local employees, including domestic helpers and drivers, appropriately.

"I hereby call on them (foreigners) to treat their local employees properly and humanely," he said, adding that it might help in fighting crimes.

According to Tjuk, criminal acts recorded at his office at the moment are mostly cases of land frauds, misuse of visas of foreigners, liquid waste disposal and other environmental deterioration cases.

"I don't think that white-collar crime will increase in the future due to the significant economic and development growth here," he said. "Moreover, it's not an easy task to investigate a money laundering case , for example, as it needs help from other related institutions."

When asked about the daily bumper-to-bumper traffic on many roads in the town, Tjuk hoped that the Tangerang municipality office would not complicate the problem by constructing many bottleneck road plans.

The municipality office is planning to improve the "face" of the city by constructing more roads which will divide Tangerang into blocks per kilometer area.

According to the plan, each block will be connected with a main road along with drainage, telecommunication and electricity systems.(bsr)