Police beef up patrols near pedestrian bridges
Dewanti A. Wardhani
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Police said on Wednesday that it would conduct regular patrols near pedestrian bridges considered to be crime hot spots after sexual assault took place on a pedestrian bridge in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, on Saturday.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Mohammad Iqbal said two police officers would guard each of the bridges and patrols would be intensified especially during hours with decreased foot traffic.
'We will intensify patrols especially during quiet hours,' he told reporters at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Wednesday.
On Saturday, a 23-year-old woman was assaulted as she left her office in Pondok Indah, Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta at around 4:30 p.m.
She said she was crossing the pedestrian bridge near Carrefour in Pondok Indah when a large man approached her, threatened her and eventually sexually assaulted her on the bridge. She also lost her phone and Rp 200,000 (US$14.59) in cash to the perpetrator, she said.
Iqbal said the South Jakarta Police was currently trying to find any nearby CCTV cameras that might have caught the image of the perpetrator.
Meanwhile, South Jakarta general crime unit chief Sr. Adj. Comr. Audie Latuheru said that the perpetrator might be a thug, locally called preman, who operated around the area of the bridge.
'We suspect that the perpetrator is a preman aged around 30,' he said as quoted by wartakotalive.com.
He added that the South Jakarta Police was currently questioning two individuals.
Separately, governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama that said the city administration would equip all pedestrian bridges with sufficient lighting and CCTV cameras to create a safer environment.
He said all pedestrian bridges would also be free from billboards in order for the police to more easily patrol them at night.
'We want all of our pedestrian bridges to have the same quality as the one in Bundaran HI' Ahok told reporters at City Hall on Monday.
The pedestrian bridge in Bundaran HI was built by PT MRT Jakarta to replace one dismantled for the MRT construction project. The white bridge is well-lit, decorated with various plants and has an open structure, so pedestrians are visible to motorists below.
Several assault and rape cases have occurred on pedestrian bridges in the city due in part to insufficient lightning and lack of CCTV cameras on bridges.
In June last year, a woman experienced an assault and attempted rape on a pedestrian bridge in front of her office in Cilandak, South Jakarta. The perpetrator fled the scene after passersby approached.
Pedestrian Coalition cofounder Ahmad 'Puput' Syafrudin said the city administration should maintain the good condition of pedestrian bridges and improve law enforcement around them.
He also suggested that the city administration add more street-level zebra crossings instead of pedestrian bridges. 'Building pedestrian bridges prioritizes motorists at the expense of pedestrians,' Puput said.
Cities in developed countries across the globe generally accommodated pedestrians' needs more with zebra crossings, rather than bridges, he added. (saf)
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