Highway robberies have become a pain in the neck for Ghaziabad Police. According to a police estimate, around 60 % of the total robberies in Ghaziabad take place on the highways passing through the district. And all this despite the presence of CCTV cameras and 22 highway patrol vans on National Highway-24 (Delhi-Moradabad) and National Highway-58 (Ghaziabad-Meerut).
Earlier this week, a gang of three armed robbers abducted a man from Kaushambi near the Delhi border in his car and drove for around five hours on NH-58 through Ghaziabad, Meerut and Baghpat districts without the police even noticing the vehicle.
Till December 15 this year, 108 robberies were reported in the district, which includes more than 60 highway robberies. The Ghaziabad Police estimate the presence of about two dozen highway gangs operating in Ghaziabad and neighbouring areas.The armed gang members, said to be between 20 and 30 years, operate in groups and target vehicles at secluded spots. Some gangs even offer lifts to passengers in their vehicles and rob them later. A number of gangs also travel in autos and rob passengers during late nights. Some gangs rob houses located near highways.
Though there is a huge security presence along NH-24 and NH-58 in form of police posts and police stations, officials said that the police track vehicles only on specific information.
"Tracking of highway crime is very difficult since traffic mobility is very high. It is only upon specific information we round up criminals on highways. But it is really difficult to stop each and every vehicle for checking," SSP Raghubir Lal said.
According to officials, these gangs mainly originate from Bulandshahr, Muzaffar Nagar, Baghpat and Meerut. "We have been effective in dealing with such cases and have solved around 98 % of highway cases," SSP Ghaziabad said.