Guarding against robberies on the road

Updated: Jan 16, 2020, 07:59 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

A report in this paper on the incident and the subsequent arrest also highlighted, quoting a police officer, that there has been a rise in highway robberies in the city

Construction work at Vakola bridge has begun and traffic diverted. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Construction work at Vakola bridge has begun and traffic diverted. Pics/Bipin Kokate

This may sound like one of the incidents in the hinterland where people are terrorised by dacoits, who run amok, unafraid of the law enforcers. But it was the country's financial capital, your own Maximum City that had been hit by a series of highway robberies until the police managed to trap the culprits and put them behind the bars.

A gang of four, notorious for targeting commuters on the highway across the city, looted a 37-year-old woman on the Vakola bridge last week, prompting the police to launch a massive manhunt to nab the men, two of whom are named in as many as 40 such cases.

On December 9, the four men on bikes had been following the woman, who was travelling in taxi. When the vehicle slowed down on the Vakola bridge, the robbers forced the driver to stop and snatched the woman's bag containing valuables through the window and took off. The police later laid a trap and arrested one accused, who led them to others.

A report in this paper on the incident and the subsequent arrest also highlighted, quoting a police officer, that there has been a rise in highway robberies in the city.

There is no doubt Mumbai law enforcers need to step up their efforts in dealing with crimes. But as long as lawbreakers continue to roam free, commuters should try to take precautions while travelling, especially in quiet streets. You can avoid talking on the phone while commuting and sit in the middle in the auto if alone; this would at least ensure robbers don't get easy access to your belongings. Auto and taxi drivers, too, must also lookout for any miscreants while transporting passengers. Last, but not the least, try and note down the vehicle number of the culprits.

Moreover, it is the police's duty to keep an eye out for any illegal/criminal activities in the city. A flawless CCTV surveillance system and constant monitoring is vital in curbing crimes. A quick action, like the one taken in the Vakola bridge theft, may also serve as a deterrent. These measures, both self-precautionary and by the police, can help reverse the rising graph of highway robberies.

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