B. Ravindra Kumar of Sai Shrusti Enclave at Madhavadhara VUDA Colony woke up for his morning walk as usual on Saturday. He noticed the lock of the opposite flat lying on the partition wall as he walked out of his flat around 5.30 a.m.

He immediately alerted the watchman and the residents. “I discussed some common issues with the Owners’ Welfare Association president, E. Somasundara Rao in our flat till 11.30 p.m the previous night after which he left,” Mr. Ravindra Kumar, who is also secretary of the association, said.

A retired bank official Prasad and his wife stay in the opposite flat. He along with his family members often goes to Chodavaram to see his aged mother.

The flat is located on the first floor and the chances of shady characters keeping a watch on the movements of inmates are bleak.

The residents are in for a shock as this was the first time in 10 years that a burglary had been committed in their apartment complex. They feel that strict patrolling and thorough checking of suspicious characters during nights would help in checking such incidents.

A couple of months ago the Police Commissioner N. Sambasiva Rao had appealed to the people to inform the police station concerned whenever they go out on tour. The police had even offered to keep extra vigil on such houses during the nights.

Mr. Prasad and his wife go out of the city often. It may not be feasible for them to intimate the police each time they go out of the city. “We have decided to insist on the watchman to keep a vigil all through the night as advised by the police,” Mr. Ravindra Kumar said.

In another case, a doctor appointed a man as security guard without verifying his antecedents and the accused utilised the first opportunity to steal gold and silver ornaments.

When his attention was drawn to the growing incidence of burglaries, the Police Commissioner said: “The overall crime rate has, however, come down this year compared to last year”. The number of chain snatching cases that was 119 during 2007 registered sharp increase to 170 last year. He appealed to apartment owners to invariably instruct the watchman to keep a written record of the movements of strangers.

The Police Commissioner feels that citizens can breathe easy as around 400 constables, who are undergoing training, will join the city police in a few days and their services could be utilised to provide effective policing.

More In: Visakhapatnam