There was a 15 per cent drop in the number of chain snatching cases in 2012 as compared to 2011,according to Government Railway Police (GRP) data on chain snatching.
In the first six months of 2013,175 cases have been reported,of which a majority are on Central Railway (CR). The reasons behind this decline are harsher punishment and patrolling at vulnerable spots. In 2009,452 cases had been reported,416 in 2010 and 445 in 2011. Offenders have been booked for robbery instead of theft and officials say this has deterred repeat offenders.
In 2011,445 cases were registered of which 71 per cent were on CR. However,in 2012,378 cases were reported,of which 75 per cent were on CR. A sharp decline has been reported by GRP in Wadala,Vashi,Mumbai Central,Bandra and Borivali.
Several traps were laid to bring down the number of cases. Commuters on island platforms such as Vidyavihar and Kanjurmarg were particularly vulnerable, said senior inspector S S Dhumal,GRP,Kurla.
On CR,Thane,Dadar and Kurla continue to lead in chain snatching cases.
The officer said that following a spate of chain snatching cases in 2011,police stations were directed to register them as robberies. Unlike section 379 (theft) which has a maximum punishment of three years,section 392 (robbery) and 394 (voluntary causing hurt to commit robbery) has a maximum punishment of ten years each.
Until 2011,police records maintained a cumulative figure of thefts and robberies. However,since 2012,both records have been maintained separately.
In 2012,in 75 per cent of the 378 cases,victims were robbed of gold. Until June 2013,in 84 per cent of the 175 cases,gold was stolen. Most of the cases are reported on overcrowded locals,especially fast trains. Maximum cases are reported at big stations like Dadar, said senior inspector P P Kirdat,GRP Dadar.