Organised crime finds a haven in apartment complexes

About 40 per cent of the apartments are owned by NRIs

August 13, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 29, 2016 02:56 pm IST - KOCHI

: A review of the security cover in high rises made by enforcement agencies revealed that about 40 per cent of apartments located within Kochi city limits are vulnerable to organised criminal activities.

Official records said that there are about 362 apartment complexes within the city. Of this, the Thrikkakara division, comprising Kakakkanad, Kalamassery, Tripunithura and Maradu, accounts for about 180 gated communities.

Police have identified about 162 apartments in the Kochi central division, which covers Kadavanthra, Ernakulam North, Eloor and Palarivattom. The Mattanchery division, which covers the entire West Kochi area, has the lowest concentration of apartments with just 20. The database also covers the number of units in each apartment, occupancy level, and names and addresses of occupants.

“About 40 per cent of these apartments are owned by Non-Resident Indians, which remain either unoccupied for long or have occasional occupancy. We have classified them as the most vulnerable to criminal activities, including flesh trade and rave parties,” explained a top police official.

Most of these flats are maintained by caretakers, who are often found misusing it, the official added. Police have also unearthed several cases of tenants subletting their apartments to others without permission from the original owners.

Investigations revealed that the apartment from where officials seized 8 kg gold from north Indian traders, was rented in the name of another woman. Similarly, the police last month arrested three techies with LSD drug from a flat rented to another person.

The officials have also noticed a large number of migrant workers living in apartments near Kakkanad.

“Even the residence associations in these apartments have no idea about their identity, which poses a threat in terms of security,” the official added.

Somanathan V.S., secretary of the All Kerala Apartment Owner’s Apex Association, an umbrella organisation of the flat resident association in Kochi, attributed the rising crimes in apartments to negligence by flat owners. “In most cases, the owner receives double the market rate as monthly rent. In fact, this high amount is paid for not asking any questions,” he said.

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