The Mumbai police recovered just Rs23.64 crore, or 22.16%, of Rs121.26 crore lost to thefts, house break-ins, robberies and chain-snatchings in 2016, showed a right to information (RTI) query filed by Hindustan Times.
In 2015, the numbers were a tad better as the police retrieved Rs29.75 crore, or 24.28%, of Rs154.91 crore booty.
The figures also pointed out that the police partially succeeded in curbing such crimes. Under the four crime heads, the total money stolen stood at Rs121.26 crore in 2016 compared to Rs154.91 crore in 2015.
The police also brought down total number of cases to 10,410 last year to 11,822 in 2015.
According to the statistics provided by the Mumbai police, Rs1,010.5 crore could not be recovered between 2007 and 2015.
The police did not furnish pre-2007 data as they did not maintain it. The statistics (please see box) showed that the Mumbai police could not improve their recovery percentage in house break-in, robbery and chain-snatching cases in 2016 compared to 2015.
However, the recovery rate in theft cases showed a remarkable improvement in 2016 compared to 2015.
Notwithstanding a dismal recovery rate in chain-snatching cases, the total loot money came down to Rs2.96 crore in 2016 from Rs5.92 crore in 2015. A senior official said the silver lining is that less money was stolen in 2016 as compared to 2015.
Early detection key to retrieving stolen valuables: Cop
To improve their recovery rates of stolen valuables, the Mumbai police will try to solve cases early on as robbers tend to spend the loot quickly, said a senior police official.
The police, however, ensured that fewer valuables were stolen in 2016 compared to 2015 as they curbed burglaries, thefts, chain-snatchings and house break-ins, and detected more cases.
On a low recovery rate, Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police (law and order), told Hindustan Time, “We will try to detect cases as soon as possible. It will improve chances of making more recovery.”
He added that in many cases criminals spend looted cash quickly, making its recovery difficult.
Another senior police officer on condition of anonymity added, “In many cases, criminals steal gold. It keeps changing hands. To avoid detection, jewellers melt it for new jewellery.”
Asked if manpower crunch was an issue contributing to the dismal recovery percentage, the officer replied in the negative.
However, the police official said that 10 more police stations were required in the city to make policing stronger and more effective.
More police stations would mean the jurisdiction will be divided and more patrolling vehicles, weapons, equipment, manpower, etc. will be in place.
Robbery cases came down to 700 in 2016 from 794 in 2015 and the detection rate improved to 78.78% in 2016 from 76.57% in 2015.
Chain-snatching incidents slumped to 445 in 2016 from 909 in 2015 and 55% of the case were solved in 2016 compared to 46.09% in 2015.
The police were able to bring house break-in cases to 2,552 in 2016 from 3,010 in 2015 and improved the detection rate to 45.88 % in 2016 from 41.99% in 2015.
Similarly, theft cases came down to 6,713 in 2016 from 7,109 in 2015. The detection rate however remained constant at 31.25%.