The number of major crimes in the eastern part of Mumbai rose across the board in 2015 from their levels in the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the Mumbai police.
While the number of murders rose from 40 in 2014 to 49 last year, burglaries increase from 603 to 702, thefts from 1,027 to 1,145 and extortion cases from 58 to 68.
The area also saw a rise in the number of motor vehicle thefts, with 615 such cases registered in 2015 as against 571 the previous year.
The number of robberies remained almost the same — 176 were recorded in 2014 and 178 in 2015.
The east region, which extends from Ghatkopar-Chembur to Mulund includes major slum pockets, such as Bainganwadi in Govandi, Kasaiwada, Ali Dada estate and Vatsala Tai Naik Nagar in Nehru Nagar, and pockets in the Deonar-Mankhurd belt.
The region is further divided into two zones — zone VI and VII — with most of areas notorious for crime falling under zone VI.
These include Govandi, Mankhurd, Deonar, Nehru Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Trombay and Tilak Nagar.
“With an increase in the floating migrant population because of small production units in these areas, there has been a rise in the number of crimes, especially property-related offences,” said Manoj Lohiya, additional commissioner of police (east region).
The police are also preparing a list of habitual offenders to keep an eye on their activities. An official said they intend to take strict action against them, including externing them from city limits.
Kidnapping of women up 400%
Major crimes against women in Mumbai’s east region rose to 1,050 in 2015 from 815 in 2014 — an increase of almost 30%. With 319 cases of molestation reported in 2014, the police launched a ‘police didi program’, under which policewomen visited schools and spoke to girls about how to stay safe.
However, the number of molestation cases rose to 349 in 2015. Shockingly, the number of kidnappings involving women saw a 400% increase, from 63 in 2014 to 313 in 2015.
“The [police didi] program helps us communicate with as many girl students as possible to help them understand how they can safeguard themselves against such incidents,” said Manoj Lohiya, additional commissioner of police (east region).
As part of the program, the police teach school girls about various provisions of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The girls are also taught about the dangers that lurk on social media and are given a phone number to call in case of any problem.
Lohiya said the program, first launched in zone VI by deputy commissioner of police Sangramsinh Nishandar, is at the evaluation stage and may also be launched in other areas.
The region witnessed three cases involving the rape and murder of juvenile girls in 2010, two of which remain unsolved.
In one of the cases, the Nehru Nagar police arrested cable operator Javed Rehman Shaikh, 19, after collecting DNA samples from over 50,000 people in the area.
In late 2015, the state government allotted an SUV to each police station to attend to crimes against women on priority.