Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Drive against chain-snatching: Cops’ bid to create database irks bikers

Take your helmet off, say cheese

Drive against chain-snatching: Cops’ bid to create database irks bikers

The Mumbai police are trying every trick in the book to curb the rapidly increasing incidents of chain-snatching.
In a recent initiative launched by the Central Region police, they are conducting surprise checks on roads and videographing two-wheeler drivers and pillion riders, especially youth. They have made a data bank of the drivers and riders’ personal details and photographs. If a chain-snatching incident takes place in the area on a particular day, the victim will be shown photos and details recorded by the police on that day for identification.
According to reliable sources, the initiative began a week ago in the entire central region. Under this initiative, the police first analyse the places where maximum chain-snatching instances take place and then conduct a surprise check there.
“During the check we take photographs of bikers with and without helmets. We also take down details such as their name, address, bike registration number, the clothes they are wearing and their style of dressing. The information is uploaded in a laptop on the spot,” said an officer requesting anonymity.
A comprehensive study carried out by the police on chain snatchers and their functioning has revealed a unique modus operandi. “They wear a T-shirt under a full-sleeved shirt. After committing an offence, they remove the shirt and go to another area in search of the next target. This has been making our job of identifying them tougher. Most of them are from neighbouring cities,” said another officer.
When asked how a victim will identify the culprit if he is wearing a helmet, additional commissioner of police, Central Region, Vineet Agarwal said: “It is not so that in every instance the biker or pillion rider is wearing helmet. This is a pilot project; let’s wait for the results.” The police refused to give the number of names recorded till now.
Bikers, however, are not happy with the initiative. “How can the police do this? Why should we give our personal details when we haven’t done anything wrong?” asked Usman Hashmi, a Pydhonie resident.
The police had earlier used other ways to curb the menace, such as installation of CCTV cameras at strategic junctions, increased patrolling and maintenance of vigil in plain clothes, but in vain.

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