Currently, there is just one cyber crime unit functioning under the Central Crime Branch of the Chennai police.

With the number of cyber crimes reported in the city on the rise, it is probably time for the police to take a re-look at a long-pending proposal to either establish an exclusive cyber crime station or equip at least one police station in each of its 12 police districts in Chennai with cyber crime cells.

Currently, there is just one cyber crime unit functioning under the Central Crime Branch of the city police.

Last year, the Chennai city police’s cyber cell registered a total of 1,209 complaints, including against hacking, online fraud, data theft, cyber stalking and notably, abuse through social media. The complaints are escalating by the day, say officers.

The notable cases included a notorious fraudster creating a website claiming to be an IAS officer working for the government of Karnataka and cheating people, a boy tricking his father living overseas with a lucrative online job offer resulting in him relocating to India, and a suspect creating an SQL injection software to rip off an e-commerce site to the tune of over Rs. 18 lakh.

According to the police’s statistics for last year, offensive e-mails topped the chart at 16 per cent of the total complaints, with misuse of social media following at 15 per cent and hacking at 10 per cent.

“We have been dealing with cyber crimes stringently as these are offenses committed in the comfort of a room but can cause severe psychological damage to the victim. Cracking these cases has proved that the arm of the law will catch up with cyber offenders however small the offence may be,” said city police commissioner S. George.

The cyber crime wing has cracked most of the cases, including the high-profile hacking and defacing of the AIADMK’s official website last Deepavali. However, some others have hit roadblocks, with the offenders orchestrating online scams from overseas.

“A cyber police unit at all 12 police districts in the city is the need of the hour. This will reduce the existing workload of the cyber crime unit and will lead to more efficiency. Such units will also be a boon to complainants especially women, who are victimised through comments on social networks and who are apprehensive to step inside a regular police station,” said a senior officer attached to the CCB.

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