Be on guard if you like to wear gold. Escalating prices has made the yellow metal irresistble to thieves. Just days after Mumbai saw a series of chain-snatching episodes, similar incidents have now taken in place in Thane. In the past week, at least six cases of chain-snatching were reported from the area.
While two incidents took place in both Kasarwadavli and Naupada, one was reported from Kopri and another from Wagle Estate. (See box)
Between January and April last year, in Thane, 134 chain-snatching incidents were reported, but this year the figure is higher at 211. And the numbers are rising rapidly, with the first 15 days of May already seeing a large number of incidents.
“The rate at which the price of gold is rising is a major reason for the increase in chain-snatching incidents,” a police officer said, requesting anonymity. “We agree that there has also been laxity on our side.”
Thane’s Zone 3, which includes Kalyan, Dombivli and the surrounding areas, has seen the highest number of chain-snatching incidents.
In Thane, Kasarwadavli, Kolshet, Naupada and Kapurbawdi on Ghodbunder Road had seen a rise in cases.
The spurt in crime prompted Thane police commissioner KP Raghuvanshi to order a raid recently at Irani Basti, near Kalyan, from where the police arrested 25 persons, all said to be involved in chain-snatching incidents.
What makes matters worse is the low detection rate. So far, only 33 of the 211 cases registered this year have been solved. Last year, it was 44 out of 134 cases between January and April. Of the total 509 cases in 2010, only 167 cases were solved.
Regular nakabandis in the past few weeks have failed to curb the crime.
“Most of the accused are young. There are many newcomers too, which makes it difficult to trace them. But we have analysed the cases and prepared a crime clock, based on which we have increased police presence during particular hours,” said Dattatray Karale, deputy commissioner of police (crime). “We have deployed women officers in plainclothes in areas that have reported a high number of incidents. Also, we are creating awareness among people by distributing pamphlets and putting up notices in housing societies.”