The number of pickpockets caught on the Delhi Metro is on the rise, with as many as 91% of them being women. According to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that mans Metro stations, 262 pickpockets were caught in 2012.
By comparison, the number so far this year is already 193, with 175 of them being women - and even minor girls in some cases.
The CISF could not provide a comparative figure for last year but said women's involvement in the crime has been unusually high this year.
"Most of these women operate in gangs," said an official.
"They look like ordinary working women carrying big handbags. They target busy Metro stations such as Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate, Barakhamba Road and Central Secretariat during morning and evening peak hours. Not many suspect them as they are women, and they easily make away with huge amounts of cash."
Officials said most such cases are reported from stations, not moving trains. Also, the most vulnerable stations are those on the Gurgaon (yellow) and Dwarka (blue) lines.
On May 2, for instance, CISF guards caught eight women belonging to a gang at Kashmere Gate station.
"Many such pickpockets are caught with the help of CCTV footage. We also have our personnel in plain clothes patrolling the stations," said CISF DIG Udayan Banerjee.
"Some of the women were caught red-handed, while others could be apprehended after the local police shared their photographs with us."
Anuj Dayal, chief DMRC spokesperson, said many cases go unreported as victims often do not report the matter to the police.