The Mumbai Police have launched a major drive to make it safe for you to take a walk on the streets of the city.
After increasing incidents of chain snatching, robbery and assault reported by morning and evening walkers, police have intensified patrolling and surprise checks of moving traffic across the city, with over 800 members of its force patrolling the streets in the morning and evening.
The trigger for this large-scale initiative came after thieves robbed and murdered a 39-year-old woman out on a morning walk with her husband in Kalachowky last month.
This year, 1,366 cases of chain snatching were reported in Mumbai, compared to 1,168 last year. Police said 70 per cent of these were reported by people who were out for a walk.
In October, 158 cases of chain snatching were reported. This month, after the intensified drive, only three have been reported by walkers so far.
Police said chain snatching trouble spots have been identified and three policemen from local police stations posted at junctions to watch for chain snatchers and motorcycle-borne thieves, from 5 am to 8 am, and 6 pm till 11 pm.
“An officer from the area’s control room visits these junctions to monitor the officers stationed there,” said R K Padmanabhan, additional commissioner of police, south region.
“In the south region, we’ve identified 12 sensitive spots from Marine Drive to Bandstand, Five Gardens, Worli seaface, Nana Nani Park at Girgaum Chowpatty, Sundar Mahal junction, Priyadarshini Park and Carter Road, where we’ve stationed a combat vehicle, a tourist mobile van, two beat marshals from each police station, and a senior officer,” Padmanabhan added.
Some 1,500 to 2,000 policemen usually man the streets during nakabandis (random stop-and-search of vehicular traffic) that have been chalked out for every major junction. Policemen on nakabandis have been asked to focus on bikers and thoroughly interrogate those without proper papers.
“In our area, police officers jog along with morning walkers in gardens and lonely spots to make them feel safer. Instead of placing police at junctions, our policemen jog to keep a wider check,” said Brijesh Singh, deputy commissioner of police (Zone VIII).
Police Commissioner D Sivanandhan said: “After the Kalachowky incident, I had a meeting with all DCPs in the city and suggested morning patrolling and nakabandis be increased. We’ve also asked police stations to round up known chain-snatchers and interrogate them. Mohalla committees have also been roped in as neighbourhood watchdogs to report anything suspicious in their area.”
The police have also issued guidelines for walkers and posted them at most walk spots.