Believe it or not, there are a group of burglars who target homes during summer, looking for a door or window that might be left open by residents seeking some relief during a sultry evening.
At times, when there is no power supply, families sleep on the terrace but don’t lock the doors properly.
Often, women are robbed while they are sleeping near windows.
The rate of recovery following police investigations into such thefts and other burglaries remains slim.
Police teams on night patrol have been instructed to step up vigil in not just posh neighbourhoods, but populous localities too. The police have appealed to residents to take adequate care of their jewels and other valuables.
People travelling between Tambaram and Tirusulam would not have missed two khaki-clad women managing the traffic or assisting the police.
Meet G. Sheela (48) and B. Ponnamal (50), Home Guard volunteers for over a decade. They are among the 2,000 volunteers, including women, in Chennai. “My daughter is a sub-inspector with the Avadi police. This motivated me to serve society. I have been involved with the Home Guard for the past seven years,” says Ms. Ponnamal, a resident of Tirusulam.
Ms. Sheela, a resident of Tambaram, who is fascinated with law and order, says that her back pain does not keep her from getting on to the road and assisting the police. “My father was a sub-inspector and I have always been inspired by him,” recalls Ms. Sheela, who has been volunteering for the past 13 years.
Both of them help the police in regulating traffic during peak hours twice a month. “Though I wanted to join the police force when I was young, I could not do so due to family responsibilities. My dream came true when I joined the Home Guard,” adds Ms. Sheela.
The women have also solved many crimes. While Ms. Sheela nabbed a chain snatcher near the Tambaram sub-way a few months ago, Ms. Ponnamal retrieved missing jewellery. “My husband, who works in the Chennai Airport, encourages me. This helps me stay motivated,” she says.