Murder, drugs and hooch rule the narrow, congested by-lanes of Malwani, where every day is a struggle for space and only the grittiest of Mumbaiites survive.
In 2016, 821 cases were filed. This area saw the most murders in the whole of the north region, while cases of hurt caused by fights, and theft, were among the top crimes in the area.
“Most of the time, these fights are over petty reasons. But in an area where there is a constant struggle for space, conflict is inevitable,” said a senior police officer from the Malwani police station.
Malwani has one of the densest slum habitations in the city, and at least 80% of the cases were reported from the Ambhujwadi slums and the Collector’s Compound. There is also a lot of encroachments in the area, which contributes to the high crime rate.
Drugs, too, are a major problem in the area, adding to the conflict. Malwani has a serious problem of substance abuse, said police officers familiar with the area, adding that seminars are now being conducted to educate the youth about not taking drugs.
In the last two years, the Malwani police have been defined by two cases that rocked the city — a hooch tragedy that killed 106 people who consumed spurious liquor, and a casMurdee of moral-polcing in which the police raided resorts. Officials said Malwani has come to be known for these two cases, but the police have learnt their lesson.
In the years that followed, three senior inspectors have headed the Malwani police station. Steps were taken to crackdown on bootleggers and patrolling was intensified to identify them. Last year, 497 of the 821 cases filed were solved. On an average day, the Malwani police station registers 30 non-cognisable complaints (cases where the police need a warrant to make an arrest) — perhaps one of the highest in the city. But the police officials working in the area say they need more staff.
“We need at least one more police station in the area so that we can increase patrolling,” said one officer, not wishing to be named.