For a force that has relied extensively on surveillance and technology, Nashik police has decided to use books to check rising crime. Newly appointed Nashik Police Commissioner Ravindra Singhal has decided to open libraries with the help of local citizens in troubled areas of the city to offer youngsters a chance to avoid getting into criminal activities. As part of the plan, Nashik police will provide inspirational books as well as autobiographies at designated localities. It has requested the public to donate books at the nearest police stations. “We have requested people to donate books at police stations. People need to see what police are doing. A young man or woman approaching a police station to donate books, apart from helping the community at large, also creates a favorable impression of the police force in the mind of the child,” Singhal said.
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Nashik, 188 kms north of Mumbai, has emerged as one of India’s fastest developing urban centres with a population of close to 15 lakh. Its crime rate of 253.6 IPC cases per lakh citizen is lower than the national average of 420.7 cases per lakh for India’s urban centres. The rate of violent crime in the city is 22.03 cases per one lakh individuals, comparatively lower than the state average of 26.78 cases per one lakh, although it has increased significantly since 2005 when it was only 13.65 per one lakh.
Locals attribute the rising crime rate to a burgeoning migrant population. The city has over the years seen an increasing number of young criminals. Most of the dominant criminal gangs in Nashik are helmed by men in the age bracket of 20-25 years who have taken to extortion and assault. They are mostly children of industrial workers who work in the two major industrial estates in Nashik. With fewer jobs now, more of these young boys have taken to crime, according to police. This has led to increased crime rate in peripheral areas like CIDCO, Satpur and Ambad where these colonies are located.
These gangsters have also taken to social media and thrive on peer adulation attracting and entrapping young men into such activities and gangs. “The idea was to set up libraries in areas troubled because of crime. Books open up a whole new world for people and offer a glimpse of the world beyond your immediate surroundings. Providing access to books is a step in making these children realise there is a bigger wider world and the prospects it holds for them,” Police Commissioner Ravindra Singhal said.
As part of the plan, Nashik police will provide inspirational books as well as autobiographies at designated localities. It has requested the public to donate books at the nearest police stations. Singhal launched the initiative last week. While police stations are yet to get flooded with donated books, Singhal says he will not let the initiative lose steam. “I realise books alone will not put a stop to crime but it is an initiative that needs to be taken up and I believe will gain its own momentum. I plan to ask citizens of standing and achievers to lecture in these areas. The effect may not be visible immediately but I will be happy even if it helps stop one person from going astray,” he said.