90% pickpockets at Delhi Metro are women, be careful at these 8 stations: CISF
They usually board the Metro in groups and are accompanied by toddlers. In a crowded train, they distract unsuspecting victims by engaging them in a conversation or by drawing attention to the accompanying child. While one of them diverts the victims, the others pick their pocket at an opportune moment.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for the security at Delhi Metro stations, says that such women gangs are responsible for over 90% of the incidents of pickpocketing in the Delhi metro. In 2017 so far, the CISF has caught 373 pickpockets of which 329 were women. The CISF has also identified Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk, Shahdara, HUDA City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi and Tughlakabad stations as the ones prone to pickpocketing.
Regular complaints have prompted the CISF to form an anti-theft squad at every line. The job of these squads is to identify pickpockets and keep an eye on them. “As per the law, we cannot stop anyone from entering into metro premises. But we are aware of the groups that come to metro only for pickpocketing. Now, our staff start follow them as soon as they enter the metro premises and keep a watch so that they do not commit any offence,” a CISF official said.
On May 22, $20,000 was stolen from a passenger by a group of thieves at Karol Bagh. The group was later caught by the CISF. On May 31, another passenger complained of missing of his phone at Shadipur station. “We analysed the CCTV footage but they had left the metro station by that time. On June 2, they entered again from Subhash Nagar metro station and were stopped by the CISF. They usually commit the offence in a moving crowded train, making it difficult to get evidence,” the official added.
On June 2, 21 women pickpockets were caught. On June 3 and June 4, again, another 15 and 16 women were caught on the respective days and stolen gold jewellery and cash was recovered from them.
In 2016, at least, 41 male and 438 female suspected pickpockets were caught by the CISF.
“Women pickpockets have been dominating the Delhi Metro premises. It has been found that they camouflage their intentions by deploying a clever modus operandi of accompanying a child or carrying a toddler. In most cases it was found that the women who were apprehended after the act of stealing were the least suspected,” a senior official said.
The rise in numbers of women pickpockets in Delhi Metro has been a challenge for security agencies for several years. The CISF deploys its women personnel in plain clothes to keep a check, but the lack of complaints against the suspects has lead to a steady increase in such incidents over the years.
Last year, the arrest of six women pickpockets was followed by release of a video footage which indicated complicity of a Delhi police constable in the crime.