The Delhi Police wants to catch them young, especially before they take to, and subsequently master, the nuances of petty street crime and how to get away with it.
In a city where the perpetrators of more than 90% cases of heinous as well as petty crime such as snatching, robbery and murder that unfolds on Delhi streets are disaffected, first-timers from low socio-economic backgrounds usually aged below 25 years, the Delhi Police have decided to provide them a more constructive outlet for their energy — team sports.
"We have written to several civic agencies, which own land in the form of playgrounds and public parks located around various unauthorised colonies in Delhi, to allow us to use them to provide coaching facilities for team sports to children and young adults residing there," Ranjit Narayan, special commissioner of police (crime) told Hindustan Times.
A first-of-its-kind community policing project to be shortly implemented in a city where more than 65% of the population is concentrated in unauthorised colonies, the unnamed project was decided upon after the Delhi Police identified locations where the ‘petty-crime graph’ was surpassing their wildest expectations.
As expected, the sociological profiling of the said areas revealed that a lack of balance between rapid urbanisation on the one hand and a widening gap between the affluent and the under-privileged living in proximity to each other was what was provoking the underprivileged young into the vicious circle of an infamous career in crime.
"In response, a formal strategy to train children and young adults from the said areas mostly residing in unauthorised colonies, in sports that require minimal infrastructure and involve teamwork such as cricket, soccer, volleyball, badminton and even wrestling, for instance, has been devised," special commissioner of police Narayan said.
As per Delhi Police records, 93% of the 1,529 persons arrested for snatching in the year 2010 were first-timers and 61% of them were school dropouts. Similarly, 88% of the 884 people arrested for murder last year were illiterate and 69% of them belonged to the lower economic strata.
According to Narayan, several areas in the outer, northwest and east of the Capital, which have the most number of resettlement colonies from where incidents of petty street crimes are reported to have been on the high, have been identified to implement the project and retired police personnel, with a penchant for sports such as wrestling, have also been roped-in to implement the said project.