Bought a new phone? 3 techniques thieves at Mumbai’s railway stations will use to snatch it | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Bought a new phone? 3 techniques thieves at Mumbai’s railway stations will use to snatch it

As trains are often heavily crowded, Mumbai commuters do not realise their phone is missing until it is too late

mumbai Updated: Aug 04, 2017 14:14 IST
Megha Sood
Police have advised commuters not to stand on the footboard as thieves who travel on the rooftops will hit their hand with a stick so their phone falls on the tracks and is picked up later.
Police have advised commuters not to stand on the footboard as thieves who travel on the rooftops will hit their hand with a stick so their phone falls on the tracks and is picked up later.(HT File)

If you’ve just bought a new phone, you might want to be extra cautious while travelling by Mumbai’s local trains. Here’s why:

1. The most common way thieves steal phones is by extracting them from backpacks and pack pockets. More than 6 lakh people commute by train daily, 90% of whom carry hand bags, purses or backpacks. Several commuters have approached the police with complaints of their backpack and purses zips being opened stealthily, and their phones being stolen. As trains are often heavily crowded, commuters do not realise their phone is missing until it is too late.

“We caught 12 to 15 robbers red-handed. They were trying to slide their hands into commuters’ bags. They have been arrested,” said Prasad Pandhre, senior inspector of Andheri GRP.

2. Thieves also snatch phones stashed away inside your shirt pockets, revealed the government railway police (GRP).

What you can do
  • Save the railway emergency number on your phone
  • Check whether there is a guard in the ladies compartment at night if you are travelling.
  • Call the control room of you spot an unattended bag.
  • Check if your bag has been zipped up.
  • Inform the police if you spot someone acting suspiciously.
  • Do not stand on the footboard if you are talking on your phone.
  • Do not hang your bag on your shoulder while standing on the footboard.
  • Do not travel on the footboard.
  • Do not cross the railway tracks.
  • Do not leave your bag or purse unattended.

3. Police have also advised commuters not to stand on the footboard as thieves who travel on the rooftops will hit their hand with a stick so their phone falls on the tracks and is picked up later.

Police said there has been an alarming rise in cases of mobile phone theft on the western railway, with 3,450 cases registered between January to July this year. By contrast, only 939 such cases were registered between Churchgate and Dahanu Road during the corresponding period last year.

Though the police usually register such cases under section 392 (robbery) of the Indian Penal Code, they say commuters often hesitate to complain as they do not expect to get back their phones.

Police said a majority of mobile thefts are committed by people between the ages of 16 and 25. Several come from well-off families. “We can track beggars and vagabonds, but teenage boys from reputable families are a source of worry,” said inspector Pravin Kad, from the Borivli GRP.

The GRP have begun a public awareness programme to alert commuters against thefts. They plan to draw commuters’ attention to the issue via portable loudspeakers placed on platforms across the city. They are also instructing commuters to keep a close eye on their belongings.