The police have changed their strategy and are working to prevent chain-snatching rather than catch the chain-snatchers as more criminals and newer modus operandi are making investigations tough.
“We realised that despite our best efforts, it was tough to nab chain-snatchers. So now we are also trying to preventing the incidents,” said a senior officer, requesting anonymity.
In several areas, the local police have come up with various strategies. For instance, in central Mumbai - between Kurla and Dadar - the police realised that chain-snatchers were targeting people coming from or going to marriage halls. “Cases were high around marriage halls near railway stations as people would walk the distance,” said Jayendra Sawant, assistant inspector, Dadar police station. “We visited such halls and told the authorities to make announcements requesting guests to be careful and if need be, take off the jewellery. We have also increased patrols.”
Between Mulund and Ghatkopar, patrolling constables on bikes carry iron rods. “They are instructed not to use them, it is to create fear,” said an officer, requesting anonymity.
The police are also considering booking chain-snatchers for robbery, which has harsher punishment of up to 10 years’ imprisonment compared to theft, which is currently applied and carries a maximum punishment of three years.