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They never learn the need to be careful
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 05 - 2017

LAST week, I read a story of the arrest of a gang of five people, one Saudi and four Sudanese nationals, accused of stealing over SR250,000 from a person's car. But what was really galling was the fact that the person who was robbed was virtually inviting the thieves to relieve him of the massive amount. The manner in which this crime took place is really worth noting — the robbers stealing a large amount from his parked car.
It appears that either the man withdrew the large amount from a bank or was carrying his company's money in the car. Instead of securing the sum safely in a place or with another person he thoughtlessly was carrying it around with him and he even had the gumption of leaving it unattended in the car. His smartness knew no limits as he left the car to either go to a store or his house. A few seconds of opportunity was all the thieves needed to make away with the cash. The key point in this narrative is that the person was carrying the amount inside his car, and it was not any amount, but a quarter of a million.
The first thing that came to my mind when I read this story is, how could a person be that stupid or careless to do such thing, especially keep such a large amount inside his car? I am sure that the criminals must have noted his routine or followed the man from the bank or his company because they must have known that he would be in possession of a good amount inside his car either from a bank or a company. And they struck when an opportunity arose. The good news at the end was that the police had arrested the thieves and recovered SR210,000 from them.
This is just one of the many other examples of carelessness of people. This negligent attitude prevails among people despite the many warnings from police and security experts to be more careful at home and when among people. I remember a friend of mine who went to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) office to exchange SR4,000 into smaller bills. He changed the amount, put it inside a bag and was on his way home. On his way, he did not notice that he was being followed ever since he exited the monetary agency office.
My friend then felt peckish and decided to buy a sandwich from a cafeteria on the way. The stopping at the eatery was not his only mistake. He made another when he left the bag in the car just for the few minutes to pick up the sandwich. When he was inside, he heard the sound of shattering glass. When he peeked out of the outlet, he saw his car window smashed and two people breaking into his car, pick up the bag with the money and rush toward a getaway car that was ready and waiting nearby with other members of the gang operating in unison.
A similar incident happened in Riyadh around three months ago when a Saudi, who was not cautious, withdrew around SR40,000 from a bank, and made his way home alone with the amount, which he felt was secure, in a bag. But just in front of his house, a gang that had followed him, jumped on him, beat him up and stole the amount and ran away. The incident was filmed by a CCTV camera and was widely circulated on social media. The man was lucky that he suffered only minor injuries for we all know that such gangs will go to extreme lengths, even murder, just to steal any amount. The victim, in this case, however, was criticized for carrying such a large amount all by himself and never got a friend or a family member to be with him for protection.
Last week another reckless incident came to light that was captured by a CCTV camera fixed in a gas station and this clip too was widely circulated in social media. It showed a husband, who decided to go to a store to pick up essentials while leaving his car running and his wife inside. The man was inside for few minutes only. But out in the gas station a man was walking back and forth around the car, casing the area to make sure that the woman was alone and nobody was near the idling car. And when he felt the time was right, he opened the unlocked door, jumped inside and took off. Luckily the woman managed to open the passenger door and jump out. The scene was terrifying and could have been easily avoided if the husband had taken care to turn off the car and take the keys with him.
There have been many cases of snatch and run, even at signals when the person in the passenger seat invites trouble by keep his/her bag or possessions in handy position with the window rolled down for the thief to snatch and run. These are small examples of what I have been reading and hearing, which could have been easily avoided if we were extra careful instead of endangering our lives, the lives of our loved ones or keep the police officers busy over cases that could have been avoided.
Sometimes people think that nothing bad will happen to them if they were to stop and shop and leave the car running for one minute while they go to get something quickly. A thief just needs seconds to commit his crime and escape. Despite many warnings by police to adhere to simple safety tips, it looks like there are many who still pay no heed to these words of caution. This can only happen if they lack education or care two whit to the awareness tips thinking that such incidents happen to others and not to them. This is a serious miscalculation they make for they know not the seriousness of this issue, for it is only everyone's vigilance that will keep the thieves at bay by not giving them any opportunity to act.
If all were simply alert and careful then we could in our own small way lessen the load of our security personnel, who could then focus on preventing rather than solving issues.
— The writer can be reached at [email protected]
Twitter: @anajeddawi_eng

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