Seven out of 10 crimes in the city occur between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Cops in khaki are out on the streets for surveillance but the culprits often slink away at the sight of the uniform or the signs of their vehicle in the silence of the night. Thus, the Chennai City Police formed the Criminal Apprehension Teams (CAT) three months ago.
The brainchild of Joint Commissioner of Police (South) K. P. Shanmuga Rajeswaran, CAT comprising of police personnel in plain clothes on surveillance only during 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., was first formed in South Zone in order to monitor crime prone areas and apprehend criminals. Now, city police plans to spread CAT to its other three zones as well.
Speaking to The Hindu, Additional Commissioner of Police (L&O) P. Thamarai Kannan said that the initiative has proved effective in South Zone in the form of crime prevention and criminal detention.
“We have planned to form such Criminal Apprehension Teams with the North, East and West Zones. A meeting was held with the respective Joint Commissioners of the zone and teams are being assembled for ground operations,” Mr. Kannan added.
According to police sources, CATs in South Zone have detected eight crime cases till now including the burglaries and attempt to murders.
Their first success was in averting a burglary attempt in the Pallikaranai police limits. Later, the team went on nab a laptop thief who posed as a software professional. The culprit, when intercepted by a CAT officer two weeks ago at Valasaravakkam, cited the names and numbers of a leading IT firm in Bangalore to deceive police. On verification, his claims proved false and he was apprehended, sources added.
“Every station has crime-prone cares under their limits. Such areas are marked according to previous crime records and the team is sent for surveillance. The team don’t have a specific task and may operate in guise of labourers or even executive,” Joint Commissioner Shanmuga Rajeswaran said.