After questioning ‘credibility of reports of rise in number of chain-snatching cases’ in the past, Gajanan Khergamker is surprised how
Within half an hour when six chains were snatched from the elderly in Bandra-Khar, it quashed all perception of public safety. All the incidents took place early in the morning with the thieves coming on motorcycles and speeding away after snatching the victims’ chains. The police feel the six chain-snatchings were the handiwork of the same duo.
The police, on their part, continued to persist with their ‘preventive measures’ like performing nakabandis, checking motorcycle documents and riders’ credentials which apparently ‘reduced the growing chain snatching incidents.’
As figures suggest, from January to May, police registered 1,076 cases of chain-snatching in 2012, as against 1,779 in the same period last year 2011 – a dip of sorts.
Concurrently, what the police refuse to acknowledge, is the possibility of a slump in public confidence and hence a shortfall in the number of complaints being registered. The slump in confidence could be attributed to the fact that the growth in petty crimes against women continue to persist without equitable detections and convictions.
In what looks like a very convenient extention of whim, the city police are swift to take the credit for a ‘dip in crime,’ while scoffing at the 35 per cent increase in number of chain-snatching cases in the preceding years. Incidentally, there were 1,575 chain-snatching cases reported across Mumbai in 2008-09 that increased to 1,711 cases the next year and then to 2,134 in 2010-11.
A senior police personnel questioned the credibility of the data reserving a comment to the media saying, “I can’t comment on any numbers till I see them for myself. There is little proof of their credibility and I will only trust the numbers that are released from my office.”
The figures had been generated following a Right to Information query which went on to reveal most chain-snatching incidents in 2010-11 occurred in North Central Mumbai, which includes Vile Parle, Kalina and Bandra. The number of incidents almost doubled from 270 cases in 2008-09 to 526 in 2010-11.
“The data may reveal something completely different depending on the way questions are formulated in the RTI,” had said another personnel.
According to the data provided by Praja Foundation, in Bhandup, Borivli, Vikhroli and Ghatkopar, these incidents more than doubled in the three-year period.
The figures only go on to indicate a virtual breakdown of law and order and absolute lack of regard for the law among culprits who are emboldened to act without fear.
Needless to say, the cops rushed to bolt the stable after the horse had fled and, predictably too, fixed glitches in 10 CCTV cameras that stood at crucial spots all along Carter Road.
It may be recalled that earlier residents’ association and local politicians had donated 70 CCTV cameras to be installed at key spots along Bandra to Santacruz following a spate of chain-snatching incidents then.
Earlier in January, just a day after the city police made a song and dance about having been successful in curbing chain-snatching incidents in the city and the number of such crimes having reduced since last year, four cases of chain snatchings were registered over two days.
In the four incidents, gold chains worth Rs 3.57 lakh were robbed by the accused. That notwithstanding, data released by the Mumbai police revealed chain-snatching incidents had dipped from 2,044 in 2010 to 1,666 in 2,011.
However, the detection rate of these incidents still remained low, with only 40 per cent cases registered in 2011 being cracked.
In one of the incidents, two unidentified motorcycle-borne men snatched a gold chain from Worli resident Surpiya Phatak while she was walking near her house in Police Camp in Worli.
The second took place at Matunga when two robbers snatched Konu Iyer’s chain and fled. A case was registered at the Matunga police station. Iyer was near her house when two men on a bike snatched her gold chain worth Rs 1.37 lakh and escaped. According to Iyer’s descriptions, the robbers were in the age group of 25-30.
In the third incident, in Malad East when a woman was walking with a friend, two men on a motorcycle snatched her gold chain worth Rs one lakh. A case was registered at the Dindoshi police station.
Also, Ghatkopar-resident Ganesh Malve was robbed on the Eastern Express Highway of his gold chain while on his way back home. He was returning home after dropping off employees of a call centre.
He stopped on the Eastern Express Highway to answer nature’s call when two unidentified persons snatched his chain worth Rs 55,000 and escaped. If that wasn’t enough just last month, two motorcycle-borne youths snatched a woman’s gold chain in Jogeshwari (E) and fled.
With the spate in petty crimes against women on the rise almost in sync with sexual offences like molestations and eve-teasing, the deterrence factor of crime evidently seems to have been blunted. There’s little to fear from the police who persist with their ‘preventive’ nakabandis stopping all and sundry or at whim never mind if they don’t register any arrests or detections in the process.
If they feel that the predictable-as-ever nakabandis play a role of deterrence, it’s hardly true as the incidence of petty crimes don’t seem to have abated.
Yes, if at all, there’s some level of prevention achieved but then, that’s only at a time when the nakabandi’s in progress and not beyond. It’s hardly worth the exercise, is it?
Ways to avoid, tackle a chain snatcher when accosted
Chain snatching has become very rampant in the city and with most of the thefts remaining unsolved, as files gather dust in the police stations, it’s best to know how to defend oneself to tackle such incident before things go out of hand. Know how to safeguard your own valuables.
Here go a few tips that come in handy to firstly, avoid a situation getting out of hand and, if need be, tackle a felon without fear.
Firstly, the best thing to do would be avoid wearing flashy jewellery in public, particularly so in crowded places.
While walking on the streets, always keep your focus intact and remember to unplug your ipods or mp3 players because they tend to distract.
If you see a suspicious-looking biker approaching you, asking for directions, do not entertain him. If he tries to get friendly or offers you lift, simply walk away.
If someone still manages to approach you and grab hold of your chain, the first thing you need to do is catch hold of his wrist with both your hands real hard and take a step towards him so that he cannot pull your chain hurting you in the process.
When you take a step closer to him, hit him hard in the face with your elbow and try to aim for the nose as far as possible. If you cannot reach to hit his face with your elbow your next best option is to hit him in the chest or on his neck. This will certainly catch him off guard and give you enough time to flee from the spot.
Needless to say, scream out the loudest you can to attract help and attention.
Call the police as soon as possible and register a complaint in writing.
— Prerna Pandey
Petty crimes continue unabated
robber targets women
Chain snatchers held
theft incidence on the rise
chain snatching recorded
DIY to defend yourself
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