Only 77 cases of snatching were reported in Chandigarh this year, lowest in five years and down from 122 in 2019, mainly due to restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Police claim other initiatives such as mapping of snatching-prone areas, registration of cases against snatchers who stopped attending court hearings and making it compulsory for deputy superintendents of police and station house officers to visit the crime spot also helped in keeping the number low.
However, with just under 50% cases solved, police have a lot of catching up to do next year. Among 77 cases, police are yet to trace the snatchers in 40 cases.
Moreover, southern sectors, which provide an easy escape route to Mohali and surrounding villages, remain most prone to snatching. As many as 53 cases were reported in the southern division (which comprises police stations of Sectors 31, 34, 36, 39, 49 and Maloya), followed by 17 in east division (Sectors 19, 26, Industrial Area, Manimajra, Mauli Jagran and IT Park) and just six in central division (Sectors 3, 11, 17 and Sarangpur).
The southern belt is also densely populated, which makes it easier for snatchers to spot the prey, strike and escape, said a senior police official, not wishing to be named.
“We are putting in our efforts. The coordination among the tricity police has improved, which will go a long way in plugging the escape routes,” said senior superintendent of police (SSP), Kuldeep Singh Chahal.
Drug addiction main reason, mobile phones prime catch
“As many as 90% snatchers arrested this year were hooked to drugs, and committed the crime to fund their addiction,” said another senior official.
Investigations show that mobile phones are the most targeted items, owing to easy resale in secondhand market without any documentation. While 36% of the stolen items were mobile phones, 30% were bags and purses and 16% were gold chains.
“Most mobile phones are snatched when people are talking on them and are least alert,” said the official.
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