M.T. Shiva Kumar
BANGALORE: You are walking down that nice quiet road, lost in your thoughts and before you know it, there is a shove and a grab. By the time you gather your wits about you and realise that your gold chain has been snatched, the culprit has vanished, usually on a two-wheeler. The price of gold being what it is, your loss is reckoned in thousands though in some cases it could involve lakhs.
Chain snatchers struck 27 times in June 2008 in the city. Of the 27 victims, only three were lucky enough to get back their jewellery. The rest are still waiting.
Statistics reveal that this kind of crime is rampant in the city. Every year, at least 120 people fall victim to chain-snatching. But the detection rate is less than 10 per cent. Between June 2005 and June 2008, 302 persons, of whom around 80 per cent were women, lost their chains. The city police managed to solve merely 37 cases.
Cases of people being waylaid and robbed of gold chains have become the order of the day. Armed men and youth on motorcycles are involved in these activities, say the police. In some cases, autorickshaw drivers have snatched chains from passengers.
Easy to snatch
It is easy to snatch chains off women, said an officer of Bangalore City Police (North Division). “Chain snatchers are causing fear among women, especially in Rajajinagar, Mallesharam and Subrahmanya Nagar,” said Kamala Devi, a resident of Rajajinagar.
A motorcycle rider snatched her chain in Rajajinagar First Block in December 2001. She is still waiting for her chain to be recovered. The police just register the case, but they do not take any action, she said.
“We have taken a serious note of chain-snatchings. Such crimes are taking place late in the night in isolated stretches. People should be careful especially during late night and early morning”, said B. Shivakumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Division).
“We have directed all police stations to intensify patrolling during nights. We are regularly conducting special drives against chain snatching. In almost all roads and junctions, the police are checking vehicles. Recently we solved 20 chain snatching incidents,” the official said.