The residents of Kankanady have formed teams to keep watch during the night to ensure the safety of all those living in the area, which has been divided into six zones: Angelore Nagar, Kukkudadi, Kamalamma Layout, Ganga Layout, Everest Flat and Mahalingeshwara temple area.
The teams have been on the job since January 15, said K. Devendra, a senior citizen involved in the formation of the teams.
A series of burglary prompted the people to come together to check such incidents for which they sought guidance from the Mangalore Rural police, he said.
B. Prabhakar Shriyan, another senior citizen, said that people have formed seven main teams of three to 10 members each. Each team makes rounds in the six zones every night. Each team works on night beat on a weekly rotation system.
In addition, two other members in each zone stay alert during the night. They only keep watch from their houses. Two persons work in two shifts. Before the first person goes to sleep, he or she calls up the second person in the same zone to take charge.
“This arrangement is to involve the people in each zone in the night watch. The responsibility is divided among all under this system,” said Kallor Nagesh.
A group of 15 people from the area who interacted with The Hindu said that they use mobile phones for communication. Cases of theft, robbery and burglary stopped in the area after the night watch by these teams began operating. They caught a person red-handed as he was planning a burglary and handed him over to the police. Women are also part of the vigil. Maria, Rajani, Yamuna, Anni Bai, Nagaveni, Kamalakshi, Ramya Harshavardhan and Sharmila Jayashree are among those who have been keeping watch from their houses.
In all, there are 2,000 people in the six zones. This venture has helped the residents come to know one another.
Mr. Shriyan said that earlier cases of theft or burglary happened quite frequently in the area. U.S. Rao said that once the Mahalingeshwara temple was burgled and an almirah was stolen from there. That incident made the people think seriously about addressing the problem, he said. The residents of the area also launched a campaign against throwing plastic on roads or into storm-water drains .
The Police Commissionerate of Mangalore city is considering policing three more areas with substantial population with the help of citizens, said Deputy Commissioner of Police R. Ramesh. In recent citizens' committee meetings, some residents complained of increasing burglaries in Mulky, Moodbidri and Ullal. The police suggested that the residents of the area form groups and patrol the area. The police have been trying to motivate people in these areas to form groups. “In remote areas, which the police station cannot cover but where there is a substantial population and is prone to crime, we suggest to residents to form groups to keep watch at night on a rotation basis. If the people agree, then the police will identify the area where the policing will be done and who the residents are, after which the people will be grouped and trained.