Bright Stove

Reflecting information risk journey

Watching signs

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Warning signs are often employed by authorities to remind people against undesirable behaviors. They are believed to be most effective when posted in or near areas where the undesirable behaviors are most perpetuated. In the busy shopping street of Shinjuku in Tokyo, I noted this interesting sign been posted recently by the local police, with the message “Solicitation/touting is an offence; Offenders will be arrested.” It looks like a timely reminder in view of the holiday season. The added touch in this poster, which I liked much, is the the pair of eyes that are added to the top, signifying the seriousness of the message, and that someone is watching all the time. What is missing though, is a contact number for the whistler blower, who wish to report any touting that is actually happening, which I believe would help the authority more, and also make the sign more effective, as “Watching Sign”, not just for warning only.
This reminds me of another observation that I have made a few days back when I’m driving back home. Some of the roads, like the one just opposite where I live, are always packed with cars and other vehicles parking illegally, either to visit the mosque, an old-folks home, a supermarket, or the food court within the 15 meter radius. The road markings, with a single white line on the center of the two-way road, clearly signifies that parking is not allowed along the stretch. But the users of those facilities nearby don’t seem to care, even when the traffic cops come around once in a while to book the offenders. Maybe the fines are still affordable to them, and the benefits of parking illegally outweight the risk of being summoned, or getting the car scratched by another squeezing pass. Ironically, there’s a public car park next to the food court, and another basement car park below the supermarket. Because both incur a bit of incovenience to get into, and require payment, they don’t seemed to be popular choices, especially the basement carpark, which is mostly left empty. It also seems that the traffic cops visit only when there are complaints, or when there were few offenders, not during Friday evenings or weekends, when the number of offenders are the highest. I think warning signs as well as directional sign telling people against the offence, and where to find a proper parking lot, should be posted along such busy streets. More importantly, there should also be bigger “Watching Signs” depicting the contact number for the whistle blowers to call the authorities at any point in time, providing the much needed loopback. On a side note, it is now quite confusing in terms of what number one should call even when you are in an emergency. It used to be 999, but there are now a bunch of different numbers for different things. In view of the needs for responsiveness in this post 911 era, it is perhaps time to further streamline such loopback channel to make them more effective and efficiency in time of needs, as well as in time when undesirable behavior are observed. More “Watching Signs” would certainly help more than just warning signs.

Written by mengchow

January 1, 2006 at 6:05 am

Posted in Risk Management

One Response

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  1. […] example, can there be virtual security awareness/warning/alert signposts and posters (instead of just online advertisements) in the online environment where we browse and roam around […]


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