Illustration: Ravi Jadhav
Mumbai is witnessing a dramatic fall in the street crime, ever since the top brass of Mumbai Police made all Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP) answerable for every single chain-snatching incident in their zone. The initiative has already borne fruit.
Compared to last year, 2017 has registered a considerable dip in such crimes.
In January this year, only 14 incidents were reported, out of which seven were detected. Compare this to last January, when the city recorded 67 cases.
Swing in 4 years
Before this, chain-snatchings had become a nuisance for the public as well as the police. The peak period for this crime was during morning walks, weekends, festivals and the wedding season.
Just four years ago, in 2013, as many as 2,090 cases were reported in the city. While this number has consistently fallen over the following years, the figures were still not up to the expectations of the top brass.
Last year, Mumbai Police issued an order to all 12 zonal DCPs to take chain-snatching seriously and implement an anti-chain snatching drive every day.
"Due to this drive and regular patrolling, the number of incidents reduced by half in 2016 compared to the previous year, and the detection rate also improved," said a senior officer.
"But chain-snatching continued on busy streets as well as in secluded areas."
Despite a wide CCTV surveillance network, and regular patrolling, the crime rate had still not dropped satisfactorily. So at the end of 2016, the top cops issued strict instructions to all the DCPs to personally go to the crime scene every time a chain-snatching incident was reported, and explain to their superior how the crime took place.
The DCPs also have to take action against the staff concerned who were given the responsibility of conducting anti-chain-snatching drives in that area. "This has put all the DCPs on their toes, so they have asked all the police stations be more alert," revealed a cop.
Top priority: Top cop
Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) told mid-day: "Chain snatching is a crime in which not only is the victim's property stolen, but even his or her trust in the police is shaken. So, we have made chain-snatching a top priority and are treating it with zero tolerance."
Another officer added, "Checking bike riders, detaining the suspicious ones and informing their parents has all led to a fall in snatching incidents. One can always see nakabandi in Mumbai through the day at different places. This has also reduced the number of incidents."