Rubbishing claims that their innovative method of video recording commuters is not bearing results, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) last week asserted that they have solved over 20 crime cases with the aid of digital cameras.
Last month, MiD DAY in an article (‘Cops plan to fight crime with hazy pictures’) had castigated railway authorities for wasting taxpayers money, as the uniformed men mostly ended up clicking backs of commuters or very hazy pictures, which was a waste of time and money. Taking cognisance of the news item, RPF officials say their novel method is making a difference in curbing crime, and is acting as a deterrent for chain snatchers and bag-lifters on suburban trains.
On an average, 10 to 20 cases involving chain snatchings, and pick pocketing are registered in the city every day. “We have been getting a good response from our team involved in the exercise, and we have solved over 20 cases through this system of video capturing of offenders at railway stations,” said Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner (RPF), Central Railway. Three RPF personnel armed with a camera have been placed at strategic points at stations, and have been instructed to video record commuters boarding and alighting local trains.
Nearly 25 high-end digital cameras, priced at Rs 14,000 each, have been made available for the exercise. The objective behind the elaborate security measure is to gather footage to be used to identify troublemakers, known thieves, chain snatchers and unscrupulous elements travelling on local trains, and then track their movements whenever they are spotted at the stations.
“RPF personnel involved in the vigil carry pictures of a few offenders, and when they spot the crooks, they nab them,” said an RPF official. Stating that at times the staff would sometimes only capture backs of passengers, RPF officials’ feel it still acts as a deterrent for unscrupulous elements boarding or alighting trains. Officials are now planning to station their shutterbugs near foot over bridges so they can get a clear picture.