In a bid to curb cases of chain snatching, the Mumbai police have launched a special early hour drive.
Under the drive, as many as 30 police officers will be deployed at the check naka of the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and other central entry points of the city, so as to target chain snatchers who sneak into the city in the wee hours and leave after executing the crime.
The police believe this may reduce the cases where people — especially elderly women — are robbed off their valuables during their morning walks.
“In the various cases of chain snatching detected earlier, we have noticed that anti-social elements enter the city from Ambivli, Kalyan and Mumbra areas during the wee hours. They execute the crime within an hour or two and then leave,” said a high-ranking officer.
The drive has been started by the Zone 7 of the Mumbai police.
In 2014, city police stations had started a drive, under which they had marked ‘chain-snatching points’ in their jurisdiction. These points are places where maximum cases of chain snatchings were reported.
The police teams made sure that these areas were covered throughout the day to keep chain snatchers at bay.
“Chain snatchers, too, keep a watch on the police-checking points and alter their places and timings. On a few occasions, they entered the city during the early hours and targeted morning walkers,” said the officer.
The Zone 7 comprises eight police stations - Ghatkopar, Pant Nagar, Vikhroli, Parksite, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Mulund and Navghar. “We have roped in officers from the detection branch from every police station. These officers quiz every person entering the city on the purpose of their visit,” the officer said.
The zone also comprises of three toll nakas to the city- the Mulund-Airoli Link Road, the EEH and at the Lal Bahadhur Shastri road.
The early hour checking has started on the EEH toll naka, which the police are trying to extend to the other two locations as well.
“We hope that keeping a police bandobast in the early hours will act as a deterrent against anti-social elements,” said Vinay Rathod, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 7).