Even the men in khaki admit it. While the city is witnessing a spurt in house break-ins, the number of cases being detected has come down.
According to the police, 776 house break-ins have been registered from January to March this year of which only 221 have been detected. Around 735 burglaries were reported in the same period in 2010 and 281 were solved.
"Till a few years ago, house break-ins were mainly witnessed during school and college vacations when families left the city for the holidays. Now, burglars still strike throughout the year as and when they get the opportunity," said Jaywant Hargude, assistant commissioner, crime branch.
Police claim the one of the reason for the detection rate to go down is the involvement of new persons and gangs. "This is the easiest way to earn a quick buck. They [burglars] just strike at a house that is empty and all they need are a few tools to break in," Hargude said, adding that history-sheeters are caught easily since they have cases registered against them.
While most victims blame the police for not providing proper security to locked houses, the police say occupants need to take more precautions.
"In metropolitan cities like Mumbai, people tend to mind their own business. Many people do not even what their neighbours do. They prefer to keep to themselves and keep their doors locked," said a senior crime branch officer requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media. "Hence, when thieves strike at a neighbour's home, they are not aware of it till the police arrive."
Apart from that, the police claim there is a significant rise in daylight robberies. "Most people believe that house break-ins do not take place during the day, and hence take precautions only during the night," the police said. "This is the opportunity that the burglars await."
According to the police, the arrest of one burglar can lead to detection of several other cases. It is mostly one person or a gang that operates rampantly before they run out of luck. Also, thefts beings carried out by beggars or petty thieves with no previous records makes it more difficult to track them, the officer said.