At a time of the year when police claim to be on high alert, a sudden spurt in crime in the past 48 hours has put the department on the back foot. Thefts and snatchings, in some cases by armed miscreants, are on the rise. There seems to be no fear of law among criminals, as evident from a robbery near the Sector-22 police post on Monday night. Police sources said during festive season — including Christmas and New Year Eve — there is a general increase in cases of snatching, while in winters the city sees a surge in cases of theft and carjacking. Despite knowing the trend, Chandigarh Police have clearly failed to take any preventive measures. Waking up from slumber, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Nilambari Vijay Jagdale on Tuesday finally held a meeting with deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) and station house officers (SHOs) to chalk out a strategy to check crime. During the short meeting, which lasted for less than 10 minutes, the SSP told the cops to strengthen patrolling at night.Crime on Monday nightMan looted of Rs 10,000, gold chain at gunpoint by car-borne men near Sector-22 police post. A cook waylaid in Sector 55, taken away in a car to Khanna; manages to escape after losing Rs 10,000, mobile phone, wallet to accused Panchkula man’s car taken away forcibly by Audi-borne youths near Elante MallTwo men who hired an auto-rickshaw ride away in it near NayagaonBike-borne snatchers target four people, including two 65-year-old women, in various parts of the city in the past 48 hours “We have identified the vulnerable spots and covered them with CCTV surveillance,” said Jagdale. “We have also asked the police control room (PCR) teams to patrol these areas besides questioning anyone found suspicious.”Also, SHOs have been told to remain on duty in their respective areas till at least 11pm besides ensuring most of their force is on field duty.The SSP said the department is also keeping an eye on criminals out on bail as in most cases the accused are repeat offenders. Meanwhile, some cops who attended the meeting told HT that the spurt in crime in the past 10 days is unprecedented. It happens to coincide with the repatriation of eight DANIPS-cadre DSPs to Delhi. However, they are still to be relieved from their duty here.Money robbed at gunpoint Criminals struck across the city on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. Sanjiv Kumar, who hails from Gurdaspur and works at an eatery in Sector 22, was one of their victims. While he was on his way home in Sector 56, he was allegedly waylaid by two men in a car with a Haryana registration number close to the Sector-22 police post. Pointing a gun at him, the duo asked him to hand them over his valuables. When he resisted, they hit him on his head with the weapon. Sanjiv said the duo fled with his wallet that contained Rs 10,000, which he had got as salary, and a gold chain. A case has been registered under Section 392 (robbery) of the Indian Penal Code.Jai Ram, 48, a cook working with a local caterer, was not that lucky. Also a resident of Sector 56, he was waylaid by three men in a Maruti Ritz car near the bus stop on the road dividing Sectors 40 and 55. He was on his Activa, returning from a function in Zirakpur.Jai Ram said the men were carrying a dagger and pistol. They pushed him inside the car and took away his wallet and mobile phone. They then took him to Khanna, while continuing to beat him. At Khanna, they used him debit card to withdraw Rs 10,000 from an ATM.However, on the pretext of attending to the nature’s call, the victim managed to escape and reach the local police station. A case has been registered under Sections 365 (kidnapping) and 397 (robbery, with attempt to cause death) of the IPC. Vehicles taken away forcibly A Panchkula man alleged that four youths travelling in a luxury car took away his vehicle forcibly from near Elante Mall on Monday night. They allegedly also tried to kidnap him. According to the initial probe, complainant Adesh’s Verna car had hit the accused’s Audi, with Punjab registration number. Following this they assaulted him and took away Rs 2,000 besides the car. The vehicle was later found abandoned a kilometre away. An auto-rickshaw was also snatched at Khuda Ali Sher on Monday night. Complainant Laltu said two people who had hired the three-wheeler from Nayagoan took it away forcibly.He had taken the auto-rickshaw on rent four days back. A case has been registered.Snatchers have a field day A 65-year-old woman lost Rs 1,600 to snatchers in Sector 45 on Tuesday evening. A Sector-22 resident, Neeru Gupta was visiting her daughters in Sector 45 when the two bike-borne men targeted her and fled with her handbag. Police are scanning CCTV footage of the area. In another incident in Sector 47, motorcycle-borne men snatched a mobile phone from Khem Bahadur of Sector 45. The victim works as car washer in Sector 19. He had gone to meet his brother in Sector 47.Earlier, on Monday, two people fell victim to snatching. A motorcycle-cycle borne man snatched a mobile phone from a technician working with the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. Mohan Jha said he was on his way back home when the snatcher targeted him near the Khuda Lahora bridge.Another bike-borne man snatched the handbag of a senior citizen in Sector 38. Aruna Devi, 65, told the police that she was in an auto-rickshaw when the miscreant snatched her handbag near Government Model School. She said the bike bearing local registration number had been following the three-wheeler and the snatcher targeted her when the auto slowed down near the school. The bag contained a mobile phone and Rs 5,000.Thieves, pickpockets on the prowl Thieves struck at a house in Sector 48. Complainant Alpana, 45, had gone to Haridwar when the theft took place. On Sunday she received a call from her neighbour, who informed her that the lock of her main door was broken. On returning on Monday, she found her house ransacked. Jewellery, including two pairs of earrings, a chain and two rings, besides Rs 1,100 had been stolen. Acting on her complaint, police have registered a case under Sections 380 (theft) and 457 (lurking house trespass) of the IPC at the Sector-49 police station. In another incident, Harwinder Singh of Phase 2, Industrial Area, alleged someone stole 100-kg brass items from his plot. Sunita, 29, of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, alleged pickpockets stole Rs 6,000 from her. She had gone to the Sector-26 grain market. When she returned, she found the money missing from the pocket of her sweater.