A sudden spike in criminal cases in Delhi has rattled the cityIn September, Delhi saw 130 robberies, 420 snatchings, 40 murders, 160 rapesThe police, however, say street crime has actually come down in Delhi
On Thursday morning, a youth was chased and stabbed to death for resisting a robbery attempt in Sagarpur. Many saw chilling images of the crime captured on CCTV cameras.
During the day, another clip surfaced, showing two bike-borne men snatching a female journalist's mobile phone in Okhla. The crime had taken place on Monday. In both cases, the accused have not been arrested.
On Wednesday morning, another video had rocked the city as it showed a property dealer-turned-politician being shot dead even as he jumped off his car outside his office in Dwarka. The murder had taken place a day before. On Thursday, the police arrested a shooter in the case.
On Sunday evening, a journalist had been attacked by phone thieves in Chittaranjan Park, leaving her with multiple serious injuries. The police are yet to make any arrest in the case. "Footage from multiple CCTV cameras is being analysed. Suspects are being questioned," said Atul Kumar Thakur, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South).
A sudden spike in criminal cases, many of them caught on camera, has rattled the city.
In September, Delhi saw 130 robberies, 420 snatchings, 40 murders, 35 attempts to murder, 160 rapes, 200 molestations, 450 kidnappings, 200 burglaries, 150 house thefts and 3,400 motor vehicle thefts.
Indu Tomar (47), a housewife who lives with her family in Pitampura, said, "When my three children and husband come back home in the evening, I thank God that they are all safe. Delhi has become a crime capital where criminals do not fear the police. Watching these chilling videos, we are afraid that we could be the next." Two of her children are studying in college, whereas the eldest daughter is working.
Ashmita Garehwal (65), who lives with her 72-year-old husband in Greater Kailash, said, "Even though a beat constable visits us on a regular basis, he is not with us 24*7. We always have sleepless nights knowing that senior citizens are vulnerable and the easiest target of criminals. It is time that the government provided us with weapons to safeguard ourselves."
Ex-cops explain surge
Former Delhi Police official LN Rao said that criminal cases have always taken place here. "But now there is fear as people are watching crime visuals. They are afraid of walking on the streets," he said.
Rao said that criminals are nabbed but improper follow-up means they become fearless. "Senior officers should move out of their offices to find out how many criminals are easily getting bail and who is facilitating it. We need to monitor these criminals 24x7. The police have to constantly keep the heat on them," he said.
Rao said that easy availability of arms is another major reason. Police data shows that 80 per cent firearms used in robberies are illegal, including country-made ones.
Former IPS officer SBK Tyagi said that as Delhi is surrounded by Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan is also a short drive away, criminals find it easy to escape. "In cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, this is not as easy," he said. "Proactive coordination mechanism is needed," Tyagi said.
On Thursday itself, two armed criminals looted Rs 8,89,00 from customers in a Delhi bank and tried to flee. However, one of them was nabbed.
The police say street crime has actually come down in Delhi. "The combined number of robbery and snatching cases from January to September 15 this year is 6,003. During the same period, it was 6,469 in 2018 and 8,569 in 2017. A total of 3,831 cases have been solved this year and 6,013 accused arrested," said a police officer.
"Similarly, the use of firearms in street crime has also declined -- 559 used this year, till September 15. During the same period, the number was 578 in 2018 and 641 in 2017," he said.
"We have taken several measures in the last two years or so to control street crime. Incidents of crime are analysed every day," said Delhi Police APRO Anil Kumar Mittal.
"Visibility in vulnerable areas has been improved. A special drive has also been launched against illegal firearms," he said.
"We have witnessed first-time offenders are involved in 95 per cent of street crime cases. We have launched long-term schemes such as 'Yuva' under the skill development ministry. It's yielding good results," he said.
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