A spate of burglaries in the city and suburbs during the elections has prompted the police to take some quick measures to curb the problem, writes Biju Govind

Now that the elections are over, it is time for the police to focus attention to curtail the increasing cases of burglary in the city. Thefts not only in residential areas but also in commercial establishments have been reported as a major section of the police force was away on election duty for the last one week.

Thursday's incident in which four persons tried to rob the main branch of State Bank of India at Mananchira around 12.30 p.m. shows that thieves are striking at will.

Those involved in the incident have been identified as migrant labourers from the States of Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi. They had attempted to take money from the cash counter after approaching the cashier for exchanging soiled notes.

The police suspect that migrant labourers from neighbouring States are involved in most of the daytime burglaries in the city. "They spot the houses at a particular area and later come in groups," said Kozhikode City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh.

"Burglaries have increased during the summer as many families are away on vacation. Now that the election process is over, the manpower position is back to normality. Specially constituted patrolling squads have already been deployed under the limits of the Medical College and Feroke Police Stations," Mr. Venkatesh said.

Cases of theft have increased during the elections. On Wednesday, burglars escaped with gold and silver plates from the house of N.V. Prabakaran at Thondayad. The thieves made their way into the house after breaking open the windows.

In another case in the suburbs, thieves took away jewellery and cash from the house of Abdul Nazar near the Feroke-Chungan check post.

In the past one week, at least seven cases of burglary have been reported in the city and the suburbs. Most of the incidents happened in areas around the Medical College Hospital.

Thieves escaped with gold ornaments from the house of a retired teacher at Azhinjilam near Ramanattukara. The theft took place when P.M. Vasudevan and his wife, Padmakumari, were out of station for a couple of days.

The house of K. Sreedharan, teacher at St. Joseph's College in Devagiri, at Hill View Colony in Chevayur was also looted in broad daylight.

In another incident, thieves broke into the house of K. Khalid on Kaloor Road. However, the family was lucky not to lose anything. They were back after an outing before the burglars had the advantage of taking away cash and ornaments.

Robbers decamped with wedding presents and money from a house on Florican Lane at Malaparamba in another incident. Residents near the Vellayil Railway Station in the city have complained about anti-social elements disturbing women and girls.

The railway platform has become a haven for drug pedalling and public drinking, they say.