Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh asked 93 police stations in the city to form dedicated teams in every police station to go after chain snatchers. It has been three months since these directions were given, but not much has happened.
“The problem with this crime is that detection rate is very low. A little over 45% of the cases registered this year have been detected. With the new instructions, we were hoping the crime would be controlled. However, the dedicated squads have not been put in place,” said a senior police official requesting anonymity.
In order to curb the crime, Singh had instructed police stations to book chain snatchers under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section for “robbery” instead of “theft” as the punishment for robbery is harsher than theft. He also had made an announcement to book repeated offenders (for chain snatching) under stringent legal provisions such as the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
However, three months on, not a single chain snatcher has been booked under the Act. Legal experts opined that the Act, which was enacted to check the underworld, would not be valid if applied against street criminals, unless the police bust a syndicate of chain snatchers, if any.
The Mumbai police have registered 918 cases of robberies till November 30 this year. in the corresponding period last year, 396 such cases were registered.
But Singh said that the police are doing their best. “In each police station, there are dedicated police officers to combat the crime and several chain snatchers have been nabbed this way. We are doing everything possible and are dedicated to make the city safer for women.”