The Thiruvananthapuram police on Thursday said they had revived the defunct toll-free helplines to assist women in distress.

The move is part of a slew of measures to protect shoppers, chiefly women, from petty criminals, including purse-lifters and chain-snatchers, this festival season.

The police have started more pre-paid autorickshaw counters near Thampanoor and Pettah railway stations and a help desk for women at the Medical College police station.

Plain clotheswomen and men have been deployed at busy shopping districts. More police aid-posts have started functioning in these commercial localities, and all have been linked to the central police control room for speedy response to distress calls.

The police have asked shopping malls and supermarkets to report incidents of harassment of women backed with video evidence from their in-house surveillance cameras.