Staff Reporter

Media reports having both positive and negative impacts

KOCHI: The police are at a loss on how to make a clear picture of the crime situation in the city these days. The statistics available with the District Crime Records Bureau show that this month had a relatively lesser instance of crime when compared to the same period in the previous years.

Crime statistics for June month alone from 1991 to 2006 show that the average number of cases reported during the month was 20 and those recorded during June 2006 was only 16. The lowest number of cases was recorded in June 1994 (10 cases) and the highest was in June 2004 (59 cases). This includes total number of cases of dacoity, robbery and housebreaks during day and night.

At the same time, incidents of robberies and housebreaks being committed at different parts continue to be reported. This situation was having both good and bad influence of society, said K. Padmakumar, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ernakulam Range.

"There was a spate of robberies and housebreaks within Thripunithura station limits and around 95 per cent of them have been solved and culprits have been arrested. Those were conducted by a group of criminals coming in from Tamil Nadu. On the wrong side, graphic media reports could serve as motivation of local criminals. On the positive side, they have made people more alert," he said.

The police officials are pointing out the recent housebreak at Thodupuzha as a possibility of local criminals exploiting the general scare among public. "We have initiated the process of shadowing criminals who are being released from jails," Mr. Padmakumar said.

While the city police have strengthened its drive against crime during monsoon, criminals have moved to the suburbs and rural areas. To counter this, the police are planning new strategies. "We will be mapping the crime scene and pooling in resources at sub-divisional levels accordingly," Mr. Padmakumar said. Control rooms have been opened at all districts, with motorcycles being positioned to reduce response time to crimes reported. *Within the city, patrolling has been intensified during night hours.

Fear remains

Despite all the efforts made by the police, the fear among public remains. "Combined squads of police and public have managed to nab criminals or stop them from committing crimes till recently," said C. Mohanakrishnan, a member of the Tripunithura zone of the Kochi City Action Force. Among the different zones of the action force, instances of crime are most reported from the Tripunithura area and suburbs, the action force members said.

Policemen felicitated

In a rare gesture, the action force held an extraordinary meeting to felicitate police officials for their contribution in fighting crime. "Changes in the social mindset have made policing a hard job," said P. Vijayan, City Police Commissioner, who was the chief guest at the function held at Giri Nagar Community Hall on Tuesday.

Mementos were presented to K.E. Joy, Superintendent of Police, Marine Enforcement; Bijo Alexander, Circle Inspector, Tripunithura; V.T. Sugathan, Sub-Inspector, Thripunithura; Anil George, junior sub-inspector, Tripunithura; eight constables and 13 action force volunteers.