New Delhi: “Let’s go for a walk outside and see what we can see!” — a famous children’s fun song might not be suitable for people of the national capital. The rising figures of snatching incidents, one of the most ruthless and blatant crimes that instill fear in the minds of the people, especially women, has forced people to avoid going out alone on lonely or deserted streets.
In most of the cases, the police get hold of the criminals but a way to prevent such crimes still seems a distant dream.
Although the Delhi Police is fighting hard in every possible way to curb the incidents of street crime, yet, the data indicates a rise in incidents like snatching.
According to the data compiled by Delhi Police, there has been a surge of 12.5 per cent in the snatching incidents this year. In the first six months of 2022, the city has reported 5,024 snatching incidents, taking out an average of over 25 incidents everyday.
In 2021, Delhi had recorded 4,468 such kinds of street crime till July 15, 556 less than the current year.
Not all cases have gone unnoticed, a few even made headlines this year.
On February 7, a 40-year-old woman was going on an e-rickshaw in the Shahdara district to attend a marriage function. While she was about to alight, two people, riding a high-speed motorcycle tried to snatch her handbag.
When the victim resisted and held her purse firmly, the pillion rider pulled it forcefully, throwing the woman away from the e-rickshaw. She fell down and sustained grievous injuries on her head and had to be admitted at a hospital for several days. She was even kept on a ventilator support.
In another case, two people came to Lajpat Nagar to collect payment from garment traders at a readymade garments market. They collected a cash payment of Rs 38 lakhs from various shopkeepers. The money was kept in a cloth bag, which was further wrapped in a polythene bag. They hired an auto-rickshaw for Chandni Chowk and when the auto-rickshaw reached Defence colony Flyover at Lala Lajpat Rai Marg, it was waylaid by four persons who were on two motor-cycles.
They tried to snatch the bag but the victims resisted. Then, the assailants threw chilly powder in their eyes and escaped carrying the bag with them.
It is not just the common man, but even the people’s representatives are not safe.
On March 14, former Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel’s mobile phone was snatched while he was travelling in a car in north Delhi, however, the police this time, with extreme promptness not only caught the snatcher but even recovered the mobile phone within four hours.
The police is also actively pursuing all the cases of snatching and in this year the solving rate has increased due to the multi-pronged strategies adopted by DCPs of all districts.
Last year a significant structural transformation that was implemented was the consolidation through merger of PCR manpower and logistics with police stations. PCR vehicles and manpower which earlier acted as centrally operated mobile emergency response teams with limited policing roles, were decentralised and merged with police stations.
It led to substantial increase in human resource availability at police stations, resulting in faster response to distress calls.
Apart from this, the police are countering the menace of snatching by increased night patrolling in vulnerable areas and installation of high-tech CCTV cameras.
The police also say that they regularly identify the hotspots of snatching and accordingly deploy resources.