The more than two-month long Covid-19 induced lockdown has put many criminals out of business and a spurt in crime and criminal incidents is likely once the restrictions are lifted, Haryana Police chief Manoj Yadava feels.
Yadava, however, says that he has held several meetings with officers, sharing reports of trends noticed in the lockdown period in Haryana as well as in other states to prepare the force for any such spike.
“We have kept a close eye and monitored the crime trends in the past few months. We know several people are out of business. Add to them the criminals who too have remained out of business. So we are expecting a growth in the number of cases in coming future but are prepared for it,” says the DGP.
The force has identified areas that may specifically be targeted. Advisories have also been issued to shops and outlets that have heavy cash inflow. “Jewelery shops and other such outlets that house high value items have been asked to keep a strict check on their employees,” says Yadava.
The police suspects that the criminals may use the mandate of face masks to their benefit. “We have asked all such shops to install CCTVs. Each of their staff has to walk in and look at the CCTV, remove his mask to confirm his or her identity and only then start working,” says Yadava.
Talking about places with high cash flow, including banks, petrol pumps and liquor stores, he says, “We know these might be prime targets of attacks. We have already witnessed incidents happening at liquor stores. They are especially targeted as they are vulnerable. Everyone knows that their staff stays inside the outlet throughout the night. (For criminals) It is an easy source of cash as well as liquor. Even though keeping an eye on all of them will be difficult, we have directed the districts to monitor such areas throughout.”
Districts have also been asked to put in requests for added PCRs if they need any.
As for robberies and thefts, he says, “A pattern has emerged throughout the country that they generally sniff out residences where owners are not present. Such homes are the only ones that remain susceptible to thefts.”
Addressing the fears of Panchkula residents, who have voiced their concerns regarding fears of growth in crime especially against the elderly, he says, “Panchkula is not a crime prone city. The city is under a constant watch of CCTVs and lies under strict scrutiny of police officials. The elderly have nothing to worry about.”