NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police has rolled out an elaborate plan to tackle the menace of street crimes in the city. The city police, after holding an extensive meeting with its senior officers, has decided to increase its on ground presence to inculcate fear among the criminals.
Senior police officers, including DCPs, have also been issued a directive by the Delhi Police Headquarters to conduct surprise checks at vulnerable spots. The DCPs of all the police districts in Delhi have already formed anti-snatching teams across all their respective police stations that will specifically work on robbers and snatchers. Apart from this, special motorcycle teams have also been formed at police station levels to increase patrolling and beat policing. The Raftaar (motorcycle teams) patrol teams have been designated to patrol in the narrow lanes and busy market areas to curb such incidents.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy recently flagged off “Prakhar” vehicles that will work on checking street crimes in and around the city. The Delhi Police has also designed a dynamic mode of picket checking to add an element of “surprise”.
Delhi Police spokesperson ACP Anil Mittal told The Sunday Guardian, “The Delhi Police has changed its picket system and instead of a single location picket on a daily basis, the location and the timing has been made dynamic to add an element of surprise. Both location and time is decided by analysing data during which maximum crimes have been reported in the last week. We are also increasing police visibility and have already increased patrolling.”
Till September this year, Delhi has witnessed more than 6,000 incidents of snatching and robbery, while more than 550 incidents of crimes using fire arms have been reported till September.
According to police sources, more than 140 incidents of robberies and more than 400 incidents of snatching, 3,500 incidents of motor vehicle thefts and more than 350 incidents of burglaries and house thefts together have been reported in September alone.
Henious crimes like murders and shootings have also been caught on CCTV cameras from Delhi streets. On 24 September, a 46-year-old property dealer from Dwarka was shot dead by assailants who fired 7-8 rounds. Two days later, another chilling murder was reported from Delhi’s Sagarpur where robbers stabbed to death a 26-year-old man after a failed robbery attempt. Even this month, multiple cases of snatching and robbery have been reported. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s relative was robbed by assailants of Rs 56,000 in cash, her mobile phone and a bag in which she was carrying important documents. Just two days after this incident, on 14 October, a district judge from Delhi was snatched and robbed of his mobile phone by assailants while he was taking a stroll outside his residence in Kamla Nagar.
The snatching and robbing spree in Delhi has also caught the attention of the Delhi High Court and the role of the Delhi Police has come under its scrutiny. The court called for police to be “more visible on the streets” to deter potential criminals. “On Tuesday, a judge’s phone was snatched. You need to do something…fear of police is going down. Prevention is any day better than cure,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva observed.
Following much criticism from multiple agencies, the Delhi Police, according to sources, have now identified 75 street crime hotspots across the city and have deputed its newly inducted “Prakhar” vehicles stationed with senior police officers at these spots to respond quickly. Areas like Burari Chowk Ring Road, Sarai Kale Khan, Dabri Mor, India Gate, Akshardham Temple, Mukarba Chowk, Rohini Sector 21, 24, Bawana Industrial Area, Mayur Vihar Phase 3 (Pocket A-3), Punjabi Bagh Ring Road, Delhi Gate red light, South Extension Market, Moti Bagh Chowk are among the 75 areas identified by the police as street crime hot spots.
On the condition of anonymity, a senior police officer said, “We have been gathering intelligence from our local inputs but what we have seen is that street crimes are being conducted by young people mostly belonging from the lower strata of society. They are mostly first-time criminals and therefore we don’t have their records to keep tabs on them. Moreover, the porous borders with states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana make it easy for them to commit crimes and flee.”
He also added that in many cases, FIRs registered are diluted by police station officials by registering a simple complaint of robbery or snatching, even if the case involves fire arms, to avoid investigation. “We have instructed all SHOs to take serious cognisance of all such crimes reported and also alerted PCRs regarding the same,” the officer said.