Mumbai’s central region, which stretches from Byculla in the south to Kurla in the north, saw less crime in 2015 than in 2014, according to statistics from the Mumbai police.
Apart from the number of robberies, which rose marginally from 1,324 in 2014 to 1,372 in 2015, and thefts, which increased from 133 in 2014 to 144 last year, crime in the region — murder, extortion, vehicle theft, chain snatching and pick-pocketing — fell slightly last year from 2014 levels.
The most talked-about cases from this region included the AIB Roast controversy, the fire in a Kurla restaurant, and the arrest of African nationals in a cybercrime case.
Towards the end of the year, the Dadar police arrested gangster Ashwin Naik for extortion after he was caught red-handed accepting money from a Shivaji Park builder.
In February, following the controversy over the AIB Roast, the police registered a first information report (FIR) at Tardeo police station against 14 people, including National Sports Club of India president Jayantilal Shah, its general secretary Ravinder Aggarwal, the organisers of the AIB Roast, film-maker Karan Johar, actors Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor, comedians Rohan Joshi, Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Ashish Shakya Aditi Mittal, and film critic Rajeev Masand.
The case was filed after a social activist approached a Mumbai court, claiming the show hurt religious and cultural sentiments, following which the court ordered the police to register a case.
In October, in one of its biggest crackdowns on cyber criminals, the police arrested three Romanian nationals from a Bandra flat for cheating over 400 people by skimming their ATM cards and amassing Rs26 lakh.
The accused allegedly stole the card data of hundreds of people by installing a skimming device in a Bandra ATM and using the data to clone their cards.
In November, the Shivaji Park police arrested a 26-year-old carpenter who allegedly murdered a 58-year-old woman — with the intention of robbing her — in her Dadar home where he had been working for a few days.
And in December, the Dadar police arrested gangster Ashwin Naik and eight aides for extortion and charged them under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Rape, sexual harassment rose in 2015
Crimes against women — including rape, molestation, sexual harassment and kidnapping, among others — increased in Mumbai’s central region in 2015 from the previous year. The region includes areas such as Tardeo, Dharavi, Dadar, Mahim, Sion, Antop Hill and Wadala.
On April 21 last year, a 5-year-old girl from Wadala was kidnapped from near her house by an unidentified man, who took her to Antop Hill’s Sangam Nagar and allegedly raped her. The girl was kidnapped at 10.30 pm and found nearly two hours later. Nine days later, the police arrested a 32-year-old suspect who lived near the girl.
The same day, another 5-year-old was kidnapped from a grocery store at Antop Hill, allegedly by 26-year-old Mohammed Riyaz Ansari. Ansari allegedly offered her chocolates, which she refused. He then took her to a deserted stretch near her home and allegedly raped her before leaving her by the side of road. The police sifted through CCTV videos and found footage of a man talking to the child before carrying her away. Ansari was arrested soon after.
Then on April 25, a case of incestuous rape was unearthed. Police in Wadala arrested two brothers, aged 19 and 21, for allegedly raping their own sisters in Sion. Chillingly, their 53-year-old mother was apparently aware of her sons’ actions and even backed them.
Across the region, the number of rape cases registered increased from 124 in 2014 to 161 in 2015, molestation cases from 316 in 2014 to 384 in 2015, and kidnapping cases involving women from 76 in 2014 to 147 in 2015.
Additional commissioner of police (central region) RD Shinde claimed, “We have effectively controlled serious crime in our region. Incidents of chain snatching have been curbed, and because of the police’s intensive patrolling and presence on the streets, other street crimes have also gone down.”
He added, “Preventing crimes against women and children is our priority. In light of recent cases of crime against children in schools we have started stressing the awareness aspect and involving parents, teachers and children in our initiative. Apart from this, we have deployed squads to crack down on incidents of sexual harassment.”