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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Dark side of moon: Danger lurks at every corner here

Deevakar Anand and Leena Dhankhar, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, May 19, 2013
First Published: 23:27 IST(19/5/2013) | Last Updated: 03:16 IST(22/5/2013)

Sample this: In a city with a population of a little over 16 lakh, around 10 cars have been stolen every day this year, one person has been abducted every two days and one person has been murdered every three days.

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If the numbers don't send a chill down one's spine, then there are many a horror tales that have over the years come to be recalled as concise key words with Gurgaon as the prefix. The Gurgaon cabbie gang case, the Sahara Mall gang-rape case, the BMW hit-and-run case, the Cincy murder case and so on. These cases are no mere blemishes on the otherwise bright exteriors of a city identified with malls and BPOs. Rather these are deep-rooted scars poisoning the very foundation and character of Gurgaon.

Thanks to the rising crime scene, life remains constantly on the edge here. The city's elderly live in paralysing fear, women live a restricted life and many have ceased to party at night for fear of brawls - a disappointing scenario for a place dubbed as the Millennium City.

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Come to think of it, Sector 29 - which houses the plushest of hotels, the ingenious Kingdom of Dreams, Leisure Valley Grounds - is the dark hole of Gurgaon. Thanks to lack of streetlights and police patrolling, the posh area reports the maximum cases of carjacking. The situation in areas such as Golf Course Extension Road, the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway - both the main carriageways and its slip roads, and Palam Vihar is no better.

While it's easier for criminals to sneak out through the porous border it shares with the National Capital in Palam Vihar, Golf Course Extension Road's proximity to the Gurgaon-Faridabad expressway provides them an easy escape after committing a crime.


Silhouettes of fear: Lack of streetlights is one of the main reasons why women in Gurgaon feel hesitant before stepping out after the Cinderella Hour. Raj K Raj/HT Photo

Hindustan Times feels the people of this city deserve better. So starting today, HT will highlight the day-to-day safety concerns of the people for the next three weeks. We will fight for the rights of the residents and liaison with Gurgaon police and the civic authority to identify the problem areas, fix the loopholes and tirelessly work till the security scenario changes for the better.

And for the situation to change, the police will play a very proactive role. "We are leaving no stone unturned in curbing crime in Gurgaon and we will continue to do so," city police commissioner Alok Mittal told Hindustan Times.

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From conducting recce to identify crime-prone stretches and areas where police presence is thin, exposing cops' ill-preparedness to tackle rising cases of cyber crime, highlighting the importance of verification of maids and drivers, to bringing auto menace to light - HT will work holistically to bring order to the city.

HT's analysis will be shared with the police for them to act with a better perspective. Mittal said the police have simultaneously begun the task of identifying vulnerable spots.

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What people want:

Rattan Singh, chairman, RWA Assc
There has to be an enhanced level of police-public engagement. The cops should reach out to people. All the SHOs should meet the elderly at their police station areas at least once a month.

In cases involving sexual harassment, the SHOs and their subordinates should deal with the complainants and victims sensitively. As for HT, it should highlight the problem areas, report on harassment of people by police officials, if any, and pursue immediate action by the higher ups.

There is also an urgent need for police to discipline the traffic on Gurgaon roads.

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Vinod Sood, MD, Hughes Systique Corp.
The police should enforce the existing rules so that the common man develops a sense of trust. It’s frustrating to see someone casually breaking the traffic rules. Stricter implementation of traffic rules will deter the habitual offenders.

Also, at night, police presence should increase, especially around the BPO firms as they operate 24x7. Presence of more women cops at marketplaces and around workplaces will help boost the confidence of women. HT, on its part, should come up with constructive suggestions and facilitate better engagement of police with the people.

BD Maheshwari, former DIG, CBI
Though we appreciate the police’s efforts to check crime, the police system as a whole lacks expertise in handling crime in systematic manner, giving impetus to criminals. The police need proper training from experts and the government should look into this aspect.

Also, the force is understaffed to check crime and conduct investigations, resulting in a huge backlog of unsolved cases. There is no dearth of retired senior police officials who want to contribute towards safety in the city. The police commissioner should routinely invite them to discuss the safety scenario.


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