Street theft is now a thing of the past in Jakarta. The simple expedient of requiring that all pick-pockets carry a sign saying “I am a thief” has solved the problem. The scheme has drawn considerable interest throughout the region and Thai police have indicated that they will introduce something similar in Bangkok.
General Garuda, head of the Jakarta Police, talked to Private Tye. “When people see the sign they steer clear of the thieves and don't get pick-pocketed. Keeping thieves in prison is expensive”, he said, “the new scheme saves the government a lot of money. At the moment the scheme is just for pick-pockets but will soon be extending it to all other forms of street crime. This will include prostitution and drug dealing.”
Private Tye asked what would happen to a pick-pocket that refused to wear the sign. “Well that would be a street crime, wouldn't it?” said the General “So the criminal would have to wear a sign saying “I refused to wear a sign”.” And if the criminal refused to wear that sign? “Isn't it obvious, the criminal would have to wear a sign saying “I refused to wear a sign saying I refused to wear a sign”.” The general replied.
What about non-criminals, do they have to wear signs? We asked. “You mean a sign saying “I am not a criminal”? No,” said the General, “but it sounds like a good idea”. What about people who are not criminal but are undesirable for other reasons, for example, a sign saying “I have uncontrollable flatulence”? Private Tye asked the General. “Another excellent idea” he replied. “would you like to become a Police consultant?”
Sure we said, you could have red signs for criminals, brown sign for undesirables and white signs for good people. Each citizen would be required to get their sign from their local Police station …
The real story from Coconuts Jakarta (Sept 23):
Pickpockets are obviously a serious problem in Jakarta, especially for people riding public transportation. But pickpocketing is also an especially risky business for criminals - those who get caught often suffer severe beatings at the hands of an angry mob, as happened just yesterday at the TransJakarta busway in Gambir.
Captured criminals who are relatively luckier may avoid the public beating but be forced to endure something some would consider nearly as bad - extreme public shaming. In the past we’ve seen pickpockets found at train stations forced to stand and wear signs announcing their crimes, such as one woman who had to carry a sign declaring she was "the queen of pickpockets".
But this is the first time we’ve seen such punishment being used at a Transjakarta station:
The photo, from Instagram user Ojan Caravanya, has been going around social media recently. It was posted three days ago but it is not clear which TransJakarta station it was taken.
Most comments on the picture are positive, saying that the thieves got what they deserved and that their punishment would deter others from cry. Others added that similar punishments should be used on other types of thieves in Indonesia.