Residents of Matunga are doing all they can to protect their valuables. Frustrated with the never-ending wait for the installation of CCTV cameras, residents joined hands and got the equipment installed themselves, in order to put an end to the increasing chain snatching and robberies in the area. As per police records, Matunga (East) has been rated as the most sensitive area, with the highest number of recorded robberies.
The system was inaugurated on Republic Day by DCP Dattatray Karale. Seen with him are Vinay Gathani and Prashant Gajjar, office bearers of Matunga Youngsters Club
Matunga police had approached two local associations - Matunga Vyapari Association and Matunga Youngsters Club - two months back to curb the menace. The two bodies pooled in a total of Rs 2.61 lakh to get the surveillance system installed, with 19 cameras keeping an eye on the area. The area is primarily a residential one, with around 15 temples (Hindu and Jain), 10 wedding halls, eight colleges and schools and several playground and parks that see many morning walkers and joggers.
Two cameras seen near the flower market at Matunga Circle
Will reduce crime
According to Shivaji Patil, police sub-inspector at Matunga police station, chain-snatching cases in the city have gone up from 800 in 2012 to 1,891 in 2013. Around 30 per cent, or about 400 cases, were registered on Sundays.
Patil further added “There are a lot of south Indian temples and south Indian women like wearing gold jewellery. Chain snatchers frequent the area to target them. We approached the residents and shopkeepers for installation of CCTV cameras and they readily agreed to invest money. It is a big relief, as they will create fear in the minds of criminals. It will also put a face to every crime, making detection easier.”
Members of the two local associations that contributed for the cameras
In Matunga, police officials register around 90 to 100 cases regularly in a year. The actual number of crimes committed is actually larger, believe residents. Many don’t approach the police and register a case. If they do, cops ask them to bring original bills of the stolen items and the victim never returns.
DCP Dattatray Karale (in uniform, with stick) and Senior PI Ajendra Thakur (second from right) with members of local associations after the inauguration of the surveillance system
“We had earlier made around 200 banners warning people of chain snatchers and our constables are posted at various points, mostly on Sundays, to keep an eye on such people. These CCTV cameras will be of great help to identify and nab the criminals.
They can’t deny the crime now. I approached my Senior Police Inspector Ajendra Thakur after convincing the residents and we then inaugurated the project,” said Dhananjay Devadikar, police Sub- inspector of Matunga police station. There had also been an increase in house-breaking and shop burglaries. “We hope the cameras will help reduce such incidents,” said Surendra Mhatre, another shopkeeper from the area. The video footage will be recorded and stored in a system at Matunga beat chowky near the station.
Our customers used to complain to us that they were afraid to visit our stores, as snatching had increased a lot. Mostly, women, after visiting temples or attending weddings, used to visit our shops. So, we contributed and bought 19 cameras. The system was inaugurated on Republic Day by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IV) Dattatray Karale. - Vinay Gathani, president of Matunga Youngsters Club
There are several temples like Swami Narayan temple, Shankar Matham, Karthik Swami temple, etc. and halls like Parsi Gymkhana, King George School, where weddings take place. There are different colleges like Welingkar, Poddar and Ruia. As Matunga has narrow lanes and most of them finally lead to to Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, it’s easy for one to snatch a chain and flee. So, we thought of contributing and installing CCTV cameras, which will also guard our shops in the night. From Maheshwari Circle to Welingkar College, everything is being watched upon. - Prashant Gajjar, Secretary of Matunga Youngsters Club, who also owns a cloth store in the area
Number of chain-snatching cases registered in Mumbai in 2013
Number of chain-snatching cases registered in Mumbai in 2012
Rs 2.61 lakh: Amount
spent by the two associations to install the CCTV cameras
90-100: Average number of chain-snatching cases registered by Matunga police every year