To reduce thefts on the premises of suburban stations, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has written to Southern Railway to improve lighting and fence off unwanted exit and entry points at all 70 suburban stations in the Chennai division.

A total of 79 cases of theft including chain snatchings were reported in trains and on station premises until October this year, while last year, 150 cases were reported. This year, there were 41 women victims.

A majority of the crimes took place in a few stations – Ambattur, Pattaravakkam, Korattur, Putlur, Thirumullaivoyal and Vyasarpadi. Most of the crimes occurred between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., RPF officers said.

“The criminals target people who come out of the station alone, especially through points other than the main exit. At most MRTS stations, we have blocked unwanted exit/entry points and want to do the same for the suburban stations across the city,” said S.R. Gandhi, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF, Chennai.

To make travel safer for women, the RPF has also deployed 62 RPF personnel on 96 trains plying between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“The personnel will travel in first class coaches linked to the women’s compartment. They will have to exchange signatures with RPF personnel at all stations to prove they have been alert,” said Mr. Gandhi.

The RPF has also exchanged mobile numbers with 150 women passengers to collect information about the problems they face while travelling on trains. “Their names and numbers will be kept confidential. This will help us in reducing crime and also prevent men from travelling in the women’s compartment at night,” he said.

A woman constable from the RPF helpline calls a few of the women at random every day and enquires if they have faced any problem.

The RPF is also planning to fix suggestion/complaint boxes at all stations for the benefit for women passengers.

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