The Mumbai police have set up a dedicated unit to focus only on recovering jewellery stolen by chain-snatchers. Police said the move comes after it was observed that while the number of chain-snatching incidents in the city have reduced due to sustained efforts against the crime and its perpetrators, the recovery part still remains a challenge.
Police also face a big challenge in the prosecution stage where the recovery is not complete, as most of the stolen gold, and in some cases silver, would be melted by the time the trial begins. This also has proved difficult in getting convictions as melted gold cannot be retrieved and hence also cannot be shown as evidence of the stolen goods, said officials.
According to police sources, a squad of three officers and 12 constables has been formed to handle only the process of recovery in chain snatching cases, based in the Sahar police station premises. Sources said that a it was decided to take a different approach after it was realised that quick and easy money is the sole motive behind chain snatching.
“The unit will compile a database of chain-snatchers,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police (Crime). Officers working the unit said that they would keep a close watch on the chain snatching incidents in the city and collect information about each chain snatcher arrested. They would then find out the other cases against the chain-snatcher.
While officers at the police stations would continue to patrol their respective areas, the unit will collect information on chain-snatchers from the police stations, compare sketches with history-sheeters, study their activities and even make an analysis of their modus operandi.
According to the Mumbai Police’s statistics of the city in 2013 alone, the total value of jewellery stolen across the city was over Rs 13 crore. Only 793 of the over 2,000 cases could be detected, with less than Rs two crore worth of jewellery recovered.