Jakartans urged to raise awareness after terror incidents
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Fresh on the heels of a series of terror-linked incidents across the city in the past two days, the authorities in Jakarta are urging residents to be more vigilant against suspicious people and activities in their neighborhoods.
Governor Fauzi Bowo said on Friday that the city administration had instructed community unit (RW) and neighborhood unit (RT) chiefs across Jakarta to reactivate night-time neighborhood watches, locally called siskamling.
According to Fauzi, increasing public vigilance over suspicious things in their neighborhoods would make Jakarta safer. “For example, if a neighbor stays inside his or her house all the time, they must report it to the authorities.”
On Wednesday, the police found that M. Thoriq, who was on the run, made bombs in his home in Tambora, West Jakarta. Earlier in the day, the police arrested terror suspect Firman in Depok, south of Jakarta, for his alleged involvement in the armed attacks on police officers in Surakarta, Central Java, in August.
On Thursday, an FN pistol and dozens of bullets wrapped in plastic were discovered in the lake of the Air Tawar Museum at the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) culture and tourism park in East Jakarta when park employees drained the lake. The police are still investigating the discovery.
Jakarta Public Order Office (Satpol PP) chief Effendi Anas said that his office would conduct a city-wide joint patrol with the police and the military in order to limit the possibility of terror attacks occurring in the capital.
The operation will be targeted at newcomers in rented rooms and houses across Jakarta, he said. “Our officers have often told residents to report to us if they see suspicious newcomers in their neighborhoods.”
Jakarta has seen numerous terror attacks in recent years, starting with a series of bomb attacks in 2000 that hit the stock exchange building, two foreign embassies and several churches in the city.
Security at numerous buildings across Jakarta was significantly increased following the attacks, with widespread installations of metal detectors and tight security inspections for vehicles entering the buildings.
Residents are saying, however, that security measures at some places had become lax over the years.
“I think malls and hotels in Jakarta should tighten their security after the incidents in Depok and Tambora. If a metal detector beeps when someone passes through, then he or she should be searched instead of simply being allowed to pass,” said Nandia Mahardika, 24.
College student Stella Wardhani, 21, however, warned that attempts to increase security should not create public restlessness.
“That is precisely what the terrorists want: to disrupt the peace. Security must be increased without doing that,” she said.
Indonesian Shopping Centers Association (APPBI) chief Stefanus Ridwan acknowledged that security guards at several shopping centers in Jakarta were known to let visitors pass through even after activating the alarm when walking through metal detectors.
“The malls do random searches of visitors at the entrance gates. We can’t search everyone who sets of metal detectors because customers have complained about that,” he said. “The guards at mall entrances are trained to recognize the traits of people who may pose a security threat. If the guards see these people, the search will be more