Former policemen and lawyers think that the rape of the photojournalist on Thursday could have been prevented had the police machinery taken pro-active and coordinated steps to secure the city.
However, they said police itself was not completely at fault as personnel were often employed by the state in unproductive tasks such as providing security to VIPs.
Several locals near Shakti Mills at Mahalaxmi had complained about the mill which is now a den of anti-social elements.
Asked what steps the police had taken to address their problem, Praveen Salunke, additional commissioner of police, central region, said, "It is a private property and we cannot enter there."
IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh, however, said that under section 144 of the CrPC, a magistrate could ask the owner of the place to install security measures such as CCTV cameras and fencing.
"This should have been done by the police as the area was being misused," Singh said.
Salunke said they had not received any complaint about wrongful activities in the area and hence no action was taken in the past.
Singh said the police could have taken the right step without waiting for any complaint.
Former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh said: "Those policemen in beat patrolling in that area should have known that the place was a den of vices and kept a watch over it. Beat patrolling is collecting local intelligence which is a part of the local police station."
Stating that applying section 144 was an academic view, he said they had enough provisions under Bombay Police Act (BPA) to check such miscreants.
Asked if the police could have avoided such an incident, he said: "While I don't completely blame the police … they do have a lot of power under the law, and have to be pro-active."
Criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said the police had the power to raid premises where illegal activity was going on and take corrective measures."