Top Delhi cop says snatching a major problem, calls for change in law
An average of over 7000 snatching cases are reported in Delhi every year, with snatchers striking frequently and violently.delhi Updated: Dec 12, 2017 11:29 IST
The Delhi Police has recognised snatching as one of the Capital’s biggest law-and-order concerns and proposed drastic changes that call for harsher sentences for the guilty, the city’s police commissioner told Hindustan Times in an interview. (Full interview here)
An average of over 7000 snatching cases are reported in Delhi every year, with snatchers striking frequently and violently. The menace of youngsters on motorcycles grabbing phones, jewellery and chains is now the most common street crime in the city.
“The ministry of home affairs is pursuing an amendment that will make the punishment for snatching more severe,” Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik said. “With the amendments in law, it will become tougher for criminals to get out on bail. The snatchers will stay longer in jail, and hence out of crime for a longer time. They will also fear getting arrested because of the longer jail time. The Haryana police has done it in 2015,” he said.
As things stand, a snatcher is booked under IPC 379 (theft), for which the punishment ranges from just a fine to a maximum of three years in prison. They can also be booked under IPC 356 (criminal force during theft), for which the punishment is a maximum of two years in jail.
In the proposed amendment, sub-section 379 ‘A’ will deal with simple snatchings, and 379‘B’ will be applied if physical force is used. Patnaik said that under the proposed amended law, the minimum jail term for 379 ‘A’ will be five years, which could go up to 10 years; for 379 ‘B’ , the jail term will be a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14 years. “In addition, a penalty of Rs 25,000 will be imposed in both the cases,” he said.
The commissioner also said that local beat constables have been told to look out for criminal elements who have obtained high-speed motorcycles in their respective areas. “We have told our officers to keep a watch on whether they have the means of livelihood to buy such a motorcycle, since this is the preferred vehicle of snatchers,” he said.
This year, at least one person has been killed and several others injured when they resisted snatching attempts. In a few cases, the victims were pulled out of moving auto rickshaws or dragged on the road by snatchers. Explaining how the police are acting against different gangs, Patnaik said, “Every police station now has an anti-snatching team and the district deputy commissioner of police reviews the team’s performance every week.”