Snatching cases in Delhi up by 413% in 5 years, 20-30 incidents reported every day

Delhi Police officials say snatchers are mostly juveniles or first-time criminals. Records also show that less than one-third of all snatching cases registered are solved.
According to police, woman are targeted in most snatching cases.(HT FILE (For representation only))
According to police, woman are targeted in most snatching cases.(HT FILE (For representation only))
Updated on Oct 30, 2017 11:07 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByShubhomoy Sikdar

Cases of snatching have increased by almost 413% in the last five years, as per Delhi Police records.

According to data obtained from police, around 37,557 snatching cases were reported in Delhi in the past five years 2013 and 2017 (till October), nearly four times as compared to the 7,309 case reported between 2008-2012.

Though the number of cases increased by over 400 per cent, many believe that the increase was because in the last five years, police have registered FIRs in all cases and worked on catching the gangs. In 2013, the then police commissioner had ordered police stations across the city to register FIRs in all cases, including something as small as the theft of a bulb. Former commissioner BS Bassi had asked his men not to ignore snatching cases and advised them to start using harsher sections like MCOCA and treat snatchers as an organised crime syndicates.

At present, according to police records, at least 20-30 cases are reported every day. In most snatching cases, women are targeted.

Street crime on the rise
◼ In the last two years, Prashant Vihar has witnessed the most number of snatchings. The wide roads and poor police presence in the area is what makes it ideal for such crimes, said residents
◼ Data shows that in 9,571 cases of snatching reported in 2016, 94.26% of people arrested were first time offenders and 53.97% of them were either illiterate or school dropouts.
◼ In August, 2017, a 50-year-old woman was severely injured when she fell from a moving auto while trying to save her purse from motorcycle-borne snatchers in north Delhi
◼ In the same month, a resident of CR Park, who was looking for her stolen car, was dragged by snatchers while they tried to flee with her purse. The woman was injured in the incident.
◼ Earlier in July, a woman was dragged out of a moving vehicle when she unsuccsessully tried to resist a snatching bid.
Street crime on the rise ◼ In the last two years, Prashant Vihar has witnessed the most number of snatchings. The wide roads and poor police presence in the area is what makes it ideal for such crimes, said residents ◼ Data shows that in 9,571 cases of snatching reported in 2016, 94.26% of people arrested were first time offenders and 53.97% of them were either illiterate or school dropouts. ◼ In August, 2017, a 50-year-old woman was severely injured when she fell from a moving auto while trying to save her purse from motorcycle-borne snatchers in north Delhi ◼ In the same month, a resident of CR Park, who was looking for her stolen car, was dragged by snatchers while they tried to flee with her purse. The woman was injured in the incident. ◼ Earlier in July, a woman was dragged out of a moving vehicle when she unsuccsessully tried to resist a snatching bid.

There have been cases in which women have been dragged from moving auto rickshaws by snatchers. On December 29, 2016, a 39-year-old woman from Darjeeling was injured and admitted to the ICU of a hospital for over 15 days when she fell from an auto-rickshaw while trying to fend off snatchers at Lajpat Nagar.

Around seven months later, on July 9, 2017, a woman from Manipur travelling in an auto rickshaw received injuries after falling from an auto-rickshaw while fighting off snatchers at the same spot.

Records show that less than one-third of all snatching cases registered are solved. In 2016, out of 9,571 snatching cases, only 3,364 were solved. Investigation is still pending in the remaining 6,207 cases.

Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said the problem in cracking down on snatchers was that they are mostly juveniles or first time criminals and hence no record or tab can be kept on them. He said in recent crime review meetings, the issue has been discussed and emphasis is being laid to tackle snatching and other street crimes on priority.

However, it is not just gaps in police patrolling that lead to in increase in such crimes. Public apathy also allows the assailants to get away with impunity.

Content writer Kanika Kanojia learnt this the hard way earlier this month when she was targeted by snatchers near Jhandewalan Metro Station in broad daylight. When Kanojia resisted, the biker dug his nails and the barbed rings he was wearing on his fingers bruised Kanojia’s face.

“ I was in immense pain and bleeding, but not a single person came forward to help. There were no CCTV cameras to trace the man either,” said Kanojia.

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