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Departments : It's a Jungle Out There

Sometimes it’s hard to tell who the bad guys are

February 02, 2002  |  by Commander Gilmore

Just Give Me A Hundred Good Cops

And a ton of ammunition... That's what I was thinkin' when I reviewed the situation in Lagos, Nigeria. This city of 13 million souls is numerically kinda understaffed anyway with only 12,000 police officers, but even worse than that, they ain't exactly the kinda cops we are. As a result, Lagos is widely known as the highest-crime city in the world

How bad is it? Glad you asked. So bad that in June, the Lagos police were officially authorized to "shoot known criminals on sight." The problem is, that ain't happening, because the cops double and triple their pay via bribes from the crooks to sorta look the other way. Bad enough? Then check this: Gangs of scumbags have evolved the practice of robbing and ransacking entire blocks at a time, invading every single house and apartment; "clean sweeping" an area. And recently, it's gotten even worse. Now they post notices to residents informing them when they'll be robbed, and warning them to have cash or valuables on hand for pickup.

In one recent case, a large block of apartments received the following notice from a residential robbery gang, titled "Next Week:" "We are coming to Block 31 to rob each flat and no flat will be exempted." Many residents moved out every night, fleeing to other parts of the city or into the countryside, which ain't much safer. Teacher Bolanie Ijikelly had nowhere else to go with her five kids, so she just put 650 naira (about $5) in an envelope, hopin' that would be enough, and waited. A couple nights later, she and her kids were awakened by gunfire and the sound of sledgehammers brea-kin' through their wall from the next apartment. Eight armed gangsters stepped through the hole, accepted her "contribution," checked for other goodies, then beat their way into the next flat. The cops arrived two hours after the crooks had finished loading up their trucks and left. Just gimme 100 good cops...

We're Rescuing You Whether You Need it or Not

A dozen office workers in a downtown Buenos Aires high-rise were just about totally relaxed and chilled out when they got a little surprise - the BAPD SWAT team bursting through the doors and windows, cappin' off flash-bangs and waving submachine guns. Dang, that'll get your attention every time!

A big chunk of the financial district was cordoned off, traffic blocked and thousands evacuated recently when employees of an adjacent firm noticed the doors and windows to the neighboring business were closed and locked, and they heard an ominous voice say, "Now you will begin to die." The cops were called, and a scout observing from another high-rise reported he could see a dozen people sitting in a circle on the floor in a conference room, heads down on their chests, and not looking at a man in the center apparently "menacing" them.

Snipers were posted, entry and gas teams briefed, and testosterone levels punchin' through the overhead until The Big Moment, when BAPD's Finest crashed in an' liberated everyone from... their meditation group leader. The corporation was having a "meditation day," to help 'em deal with the stress of high finance, metropolitan living, street crime, and... heavily armed intruders in black balaclavas, we think. Hey, at least the "meditators" didn't miss all the coverage of the event from the outside. After being broadcast live by a couple of circling news choppers, Buenos Aires stations re-played the highlights later that evening. All the participants were expected to recover psychologically - except maybe the head guru.

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