Gurugam loses some shine as spike in chain snatching spooks women

In the first four months this year, 30 cases of snatching were reported from areas under DLF Phase 2 police station, 15 from Sadar, Sector 14 and Sector 29, and 14 from Palam Vihar and Sector 56.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 02, 2018 09:14 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Gurugram,Gurgaon,chain snatching cases
Police say the modus operandi is often the same in chain-snatching cases — bike-borne men target women who are travelling alone. They speed by on the two-wheeler, snatching the ornament in the process, before their victims realise may realise what is happening.(HT Illustration)

Police data shows that there has been a sharp spike in cases of chain snatching over the last few years. A total of 136 cases of snatching have already been reported till April 30 this year; 509 cases were reported in 2017 and 409 in 2016.

These are the reported cases – many a time, cases of chain snatching go unreported due to fears of family tantrums, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sumit Kuhar said.

According to feedback received by the police, such incidents have restrained locals from wearing gold ornaments at public places, he said.

The modus operandi is often the same, police said, suggesting that snatching cases take place in a planned and well-rehearsed manner.

Generally, explained a police officer who asked not to be named, two bikeborne men land up from nowhere and target women who are generally alone. At times, the pillion rider gets down from the vehicle, snatches jewellery, rushes back to the motorcycle and flees with his accomplice, he added.

Ranjana Gehlot, a resident of Sector 21, said she could not step out of her house for about a week after her gold chain was snatched in April.

“So many people go for walks in the evening in my neighbourhood, which is well guarded. I had been doing the same for years. But the incident shook me to the core,” the 53-year-old said.

Gehlot said she was stopped by two young men who asked her for directions. “When I started showing them the way, the pillion rider snatched my chain with such force that I almost fell down. Before I could even realise what was happening, they fled,” said Gehlot, who works at a government school.

Some places in the city have emerged as particularly notorious spots for bikeborne chain snatching, according to the data. In the first four months this year, 30 cases of snatching were reported from areas under DLF Phase 2 police station, 15 from Sadar, Sector 14 and Sector 29, and 14 from Palam Vihar and Sector 56.

DLF Phase 1 police station registered eight cases till April. MG Road, Sector 56, Sector 57, Sector 29, Sector 5, Palam Vihar, Sector 23 and Sector 22 are infamous for chain snatching, the police officer said, and the snatched items are usually sold in markets across Gurugram and Delhi.

Mona Dhandhi, a resident of Sector 17B, got a shock when a Delhi-based jeweller showed her a pair of bangles stolen from her house last October.

The bangles had been polished but the antique design of the bangles, which she had been wearing for many years, made her recognise them.

The 40-year-old immediately reported the incident to police, and the jeweller was booked for buying stolen ornaments.

Last year, police booked and arrested 24 jewellers for allegedly buying stolen gold chains. This year, one has been arrested so far.

DCP Kuhar said, “Our crime branch has been given the task of getting hold of the snatchers. We have written to HUDA/MCG to ensure no streets are without lights. We are ensuring police patrolling is heavy on lonely stretches.”

As per records, most chain snatchers are college- and school-going students. Police said most of those arrested in cases of chain snatching are between the ages of 16 and 21.

“What works in their favour is the fact that they ‘look’ innocent,” police said.

Those arrested are often released on bail, and tend to become repeat offenders, said the police who are taking measures to curb chain snatching cases.

“We have intensified patrolling in various places. Most members of the gangs busted recently were college and school students from good families. We have noticed students of Class 9 and 12 are generally part of the gang. They easily get attracted towards easy money and commit such crimes,” Kuhar said.

First Published: Jun 02, 2018 09:11 IST