While living in south Mumbai is always considered to be a safe bet, 2014 was a mixed bag for the south region.
Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria’s diktat to crack down on street crimes resulted in the number of chain-snatching cases coming down to 40 from 100 in 2013 — the maximum drop in any region.
But, at the same time, cases of pick-pocketing went up to 30 from 13.
According to the police, cases of pick-pocketing happen primarily in crowded pockets of Pydhonie, Kalbadevi, Zaveri Bazaar and LT Marg, where diamond merchants and jewellers have flourished over the years.
Also these areas have wholesale markets, which offer a variety of products, be it frozen foods fresh vegetables, electronic, hardware, apparels or even vehicle accessories.
“The markets attract a majority of the floating population, and it also acts as a training ground for many thieves. The dense population in these areas provides the ideal cover for stealing and then escaping,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
To curb the menace, the police have intensified patrolling and also increased presence in such areas during peak shopping hours, the officer said.
Another area of concern for south Mumbai is the number of burglaries, which has seen a minor spike from 244 cases to 264 in 2014.
According to the police’s yearly statistics, Pydhonie, LT Marg and VP Road police stations top the list in the south region with maximum cases of burglaries at night.
The area has undergone considerable change in the past two to three decades and has seen numerous new residential buildings coming up, said a police officer.
It has also seen small commercial establishments flourish. Police claim a major reason for the increase is that the region is mostly isolated once offices shut shop for the day.
Last year, the Azad Maidan police busted a gang of robbers from Mumbra, who would break into shops, hotels and houses in nights. A woman was also part of the gang.
“A majority of the small establishments are shut, and commercial hubs such as Fort, Churchgate, Nariman Point and Crawford Market areas are deserted at night. This is the best time for burglars to strike,” said a police officer.
Street crime involving foreign nationals in Colaba, Fort and CST area has been a cause of concern for the police. Also, firing incidents related to gang rivalries in Bhendi Bazaar, Dongri or Angadiya Dacoity in Bhuleshwar are keeping officials busy.