FOR YEARS, Bhopal enjoyed the reputation of being a safe city where denizens could move without fear even after dark. Not any more.
First it was the fear of dacoits, who unleashed terror by striking at their will for several months. Now, robbers are wreaking havoc in the State capital.
Those living in new Bhopal areas are the worst affected as these parts witnessed a sharp rise in incidents of loot and chain-snatching. Though rural areas also saw daredevil incidents lately. Until October-end, the number of loots in new Bhopal was more than double the figure in Old Bhopal.
Snatchers had looted 28 cell phones in new Bhopal compared to only 6 in the old City this year. Similarly, 27 women were robbed of gold chains, mangal sutra in new Bhopal compared to 20 in old Bhopal and just five in rural part of the district. The rest of the loots also accounted 19 in New Bhopal, 10 in walled City and five in rural areas.
“Owing to large stretch of open areas, snatchers find it easy to operate in new Bhopal compared to Old Bhopal, which is thickly populated and have people out on the streets till late night,” says a police officer requesting anonymity.
“The lure of fast life and money needed to maintain cell phones and other gadgets is prompting many youths to take to loot as in the case of college students caught in several robberies,” he added.
Figures suggest a sharp rise in incidents of loot this year compared to previous years. In the first ten months this year, the number of loots alone touched 117 mark. A figure much more than robberies in the entire years in the past. Over a dozen loots in November have taken the figure further high. However, the number of robberies in Bhopal in the past was 97 in 2003, 106 in 2004 and 110 in 2005.
Officials privately admit that going out alone (especially for women) has become risky in the Capital. The police have divided the district in three parts — new Bhopal, old Bhopal and rural Bhopal, each having an Additional SP as in charge. Habibganj, Govindpura, Jehangirabad and TT Nagar circles comprise New Bhopal while Kotwali, Shahjehanabad, Hanumanganj and Bairagarh circles fall under the purview of ASP (old City). The rest falls in rural area.