A unique project of the Delhi Police called 'neighbourhood police' has been able to bring down the number of theft cases in west Delhi by 50%. A parallel police department, the members of this force include residents, usually numbering 25, of the area and are required to patrol their areas.
"We have discussed the project with the locals and they appreciated our effort and agreed to join us in night patrolling. Currently the project is running on a trial basis in Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar and Mayapuri areas," a senior police officer said.
The rising number of theft incidents forced the police into taking this step. "In 2011, 96 cases of simple thefts were reported from these areas which have come down to 47 this year. But there's still lots more to be done to control thefts in these areas," the officer added.
Along with neighbourhood police, the west district police has also started another project called 'Meri Gali'. Under this initiative, the residents of Delhi will be allowed to put barricades in their lanes to stop vehicle movement.
"The best way to curb crimes is to involve residents. Recently we had a meeting with the residents and decided to give them the authority to put barricades in the lanes of their colonies," V Renganathan, additional commissioner of police (west) said.
The project has been initiated in areas where there are congested lanes and incidents of burglary and theft were high.
"Tilak Nagar alone has 230 barricades. There are volunteers who have agreed to put barricades at colony gates so that no one can enter during night. The timings for putting barricades have been decided by the residents only," Renganathan added.
The project is for colonies with narrow lanes. "These days, most residential colonies have proper gates with a security system in place. But in west Delhi, a majority of residents live in narrow lanes. The initiative has been taken keeping the topography of the area in mind," a senior police officer said.
Delhi Police believe that by involving residents, crime can be curbed to a large extent.
The Delhi Police has similar plans in store for Delhi's border areas too. They are planning to allow residents to put barricades in case any criminal is trying to flee.