For the second consecutive year, outer Delhi’s Prashant Vihar has figured in the list of most unsafe places in the city with maximum number of snatching cases and vehicle thefts across Delhi, according to police annual crime data
In 2016, 237 cases of motorcyclists snatching cell phones and wallets from pedestrians were reported at the Prashant Vihar police station, almost 57 more cases than the Hari Nagar police station in west Delhi, which records the second highest number of snatching cases in the city.
Since more than half of the FIRs registered at Prashant Vihar police station are related to snatching, most of the officers here are busy investigating cases where snatchers, with or without a bike, have fled with bags and cell-phones of passersby. Out of the 35 FIRs registered at the police station this year (till January 24), 18 were related to snatching.
Covering around an area of 5 to 6 square kilometres, bikers wearing helmets strike at will, with police unable to stop the spree of such crimes. Barring one case, all were reported in Sectors 9, 13 and 14. Sources said, the control room receives at least two snatching calls, but not everybody bothers to file an FIR.
Monika Arora, who owns a boutique, has been a victim of these biker gangs twice in the last seven months. On January 7, she had stepped out of the rickshaw and dropped her daughter, when two bikers snatched her wallet and fled.
“Last May, it happened in front of the North East Mall. Police did not register a case then. Last week, bikers again snatched my bag. This time, police have registered an FIR. Every day, we hear about somebody’s phone getting snatched,” she said.
On January 8, 39-year-old Rajiv Sindu was jogging with his friends and had reached the gate of his friend’s apartment in Sector 13 at around 7.10am when four bikers held him at gunpoint and robbed him of his jewellery. Sindhu and his friends have stopped stepping out for morning walks after the incident.
“I still cannot believe that in Delhi, people get robbed on the main road in front of everyone. Those men had two pistols. One of them asked the other person to shoot and rob me because I had a diamond ring. I thought these robberies only happen in the hinterlands. I gave the number of the bikes but the police has not been able to arrest anyone till date.”
Over the last few months, the local MLA Vijender Gupta along with all the RWAs in Prashant Vihar met the area DCP (Rohini) MN Tiwari twice over the rising snatching and motor vehicle theft cases. Gupta said they have asked for a third meeting with the DCP.
The police and the RWAs have blocked roads, some even permanently, to ensure bikers do not have multiple escape routes. “The roads here are wide and have multiple entry-exit points. Some roads were blocked permanently by the police and the RWAs to prevent the snatchings. Police also set up pickets outside the gates at night, but the measures have not had the desired effect,” said Gupta.
Tiwari was not available for comment.
A senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “Prashant Vihar is a case study because of its wide roads and multiple intersections. It is easier for bikers to escape the area, after every crime. In the past, we found that bikers from places as far as Swaroop Nagar and parts of north Delhi come here to commit the crimes.”