Morning walkers beware! String of snatchings puts cops on their toes

Updated: 13 November, 2020 08:04 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

Cops to patrol roads early in the morning when citizens, especially the seniors, emerge from their houses and so do criminals like chain snatchers

Several morning walkers have been targeted by chain snatchers recently. File pic
Several morning walkers have been targeted by chain snatchers recently. File pic

With the opening of the city, Unlock brought along a spike in chain snatchings and other crimes as Mumbaikars emerged from their houses. Criminals have been targeting joggers at posh localities and back-to-back incidents chain snatching in various parts of the city have prompted the Mumbai police to take holistic actions.

Joint Commissioner of Police (law and order) Vishwas Nangare Patil told mid-day, "There were six cases of chain snatching in a day, they were solved within a day. We have increased our patrolling in vulnerable locations. The visibility of cops on the roads infuses confidence among citizens."

"We are motivating civilians to instal CCTV cameras and have planned QR code-based patrolling. Patrolling will be based on the topography and demography of areas. Police chowkies are being strengthened, defective vehicles have been repaired and are on the road for patrols," he said.

Patrolling, Nangare Patil said had been lax in the mornings, "But it has now been stepped up strategically," he added.

Nangare Patil has also directed all police stations to create a list of history-sheeters and keep a close watch on their movements. "Detection staff and night patrolling teams have been directed to visit the houses of history sheeters, especially in the wee hours to know if they are home or not. This plan is being regularly executed every night and supervised by our control room," Patil told mid-day.

If a history-sheeter is not found at home, his mobile tower location is immediately retrieved and a police team in his current location is alerted to remain vigilant against street crimes.

Emphasis on reporting crime

"The reporting of incidents should be very very prompt and based on that, we are organising nakabandis and combing operations to catch the criminals. Overall, we are focusing more on visible policing," said Patil, adding, "We are also motivating civilians to instal CCTV cameras as private cameras will definitely boost surveillance.

For installing private cameras, we are focusing on peripheral areas of establishments like shopping malls, multiplexes, banks and other financial institutions. Very soon we will have doubled the strength of CCTV cameras."

An inspector told mid-day that besides first-time offenders, they are also including details of history-sheeters from 10 years ago. "Though a few of them say they have given up crime, we cannot believe in them and we have to know their whereabouts if the street crimes have increased in the city," said the officer.

Additional Commissioner of Police (South region) Satyanarayan Choudhary told mid-day that cops have been asked to be on the roads, especially in the mornings in Marine Drive and parks in Malabar Hill. "Besides beefing up security in the morning, night patrolling has been stepped up and our staff are more vigilant these days," Choudhary told mid-day.

Police at a nakabandi at T junction in Dharavi. FILE PIC
Police at a nakabandi at T junction in Dharavi. FILE PIC

A few detection officers in south Mumbai told mid-day that the street crimes are comparatively less in their jurisdictions. "Since trains are open to limited people, anti-social elements – who would earlier reach south Mumbai to commit offences in the wee hours and return home in early morning trains, are unable to come," said a sub-inspector.

Also Read: Mumbai Crime: Duo kidnaps man from outside home, act caught on CCTV camera

Another police officer said, "High presence of police and nakabandis at different places deters criminals from travelling via road too."

A recent case

Two morning walkers were attacked by bike-borne chain snatchers in the northern suburbs on Monday. Though one of the accused, Zakir Siraj Irani, 35, was arrested at Dahisar toll naka, his accomplice escaped.

During interrogation, police learnt about the accomplice, 33-year-old Kasim Garibshah Irani was in Ambivli. The Additional Commissioner of Police (North region) Dilip Sawant then sent a team of officers who arrested him. "At least 100 policemen were sent to Ambivli area to arrest Kasim. Both of them are professional chain snatchers who have more than 32 cases against them," said an officer.

Sources told mid-day that some chain snatchers come from areas like Palghar, Mira-Bhayandar, Navi Mumbai and Thane. As such, security has been beefed up at toll plazas where the cops – in plainclothes — keep a close watch on the motorists.

"We observe the movement of people at Dahisar toll naka. If a motorcyclist is found to be suspicious, we don't stop his vehicle on the spot as it will create chaos, cause a traffic jam and alert other criminals. Instead, we alert our nakabandi teams on the Western Express Highway (WEH) to stop the vehicle and check its documents and other credentials," said an officer attached to Dahisar police station.

Inputs by Samiullah Khan

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First Published: 13 November, 2020 07:45 IST

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