The story about the armed robbery attack on a University of Ghana female lecturer, Dr. Benedicta Fosu-Mensah at Ashongman, a suburb of Accra, and if we may add, close shave with death, was a scary read in the DAILY GUIDE yesterday.
The criminals while wielding what she identified as an AK 47 assault weapon and another firearm of a different description which they trained on her as they searched her residence for valuables was an unenviable experience.
Her narration of the harrowing encounter with the merchants of death who could have easily pulled the trigger, especially as suggested by one of them, as he became impatient with her said it all about how armed robbers are generally heartless.
Many were not as lucky as they died at the hands of the criminals.
We do not want to take a swipe at the police but only wish to express concern about the time it takes for the law enforcement agency to respond to distress calls. From the victim's narration, it took the police twenty minutes to respond to her call; the crux of the concern. It is instructive that robbers do not usually stay for this long at crime scenes and the police could have easily pounced upon them, had their response time been swift.
There might be some factors accounting for the seeming slowness in responding to distress calls, something perhaps beyond the officers on the night shift and patrol duties. The victim was able to call the police because she is educated and taken the trouble to memorise the emergency numbers. It is a fact that not all educated persons know these numbers anyway. For those who do, many of them do not have confidence in the police to respond swiftly as it showed in the case of the woman under review.
Our mobile phone network companies must constantly be in touch with the police with a view to innovating ways of dealing with emergencies, especially since armed robbers would definitely kill victims seen to be sending out distress calls.
Such engagements would be effective in identifying challenges which affect communication between distressed victims of armed robbery attacks and the police.
Another factor we think must be addressed is dearth of adequate logistics at the disposal of the police. It is common to be told by the stations that patrol vehicles would be dispatched when they are available leaving armed robbers to have field days.
Like fire stations, every police station must be fitted with standby vehicles to respond to emergencies and the necessary gadgets and men. Had the victim whose story triggered this commentary died, her fate could have been attributed to the non-swift response of the police.
The state must invest in more logistics for the police. The momentum of patrols must be raised as should be the provision of communication equipment.
Since most robberies take place between 1am and 2.30am, we think such periods must be the time when the law enforcement agency's patrols must be on high alert.
We wish to also call on residents to be their neighbours' keepers. The female lecturer tried to have them come to her aid but nobody cared to do so. At such critical moments of life and death, what good neighbours should do is not only call the police but insist they respond immediately.