Tamil Nadu

Crimes on trains in TN rising

Thefts and burglaries top the list; passengers say lack of patrolling to blame.

In a trend that raises questions about safety of passengers, data from the Government Railway Police (GRP) shows that crimes on trains in Tamil Nadu have witnessed a significant rise.

Statistics accessed through the Right to Information Act reveal that most of the crimes are theft cases.

According to the data provided by the GRP, the total number of crimes on trains in the State went up from 177 in 2012 to 247 in 2013 and to 342 in 2014, a 93.2 per cent increase in two years.

In other words, the crime rate has almost doubled. Cases of theft constitute a chunk of the cases. In 2014, as many as 314 of the 342 cases registered related to theft.

There has also been a rise in organised train robberies, with the number of registered cases going up from four in 2012 to 25 in 2014.

Reversal in trend

In fact, the numbers are a reversal of crime rate witnessed between 2010 and 2012, when the cases fell to 177. In all, trains have witnessed 1,220 crimes between 2010 and 2014.

Passengers say lack of proper patrolling was the primary reason for theft cases. Railway Police personnel are expected to do constant patrolling on trains. But rarely does a passenger see this happen.

S. Murali, a resident of Kolathur, says that his wife Priya’s eight-sovereign chain was snatched in a moving train.

The incident happened before Jolarpet railway station while travelling from Bangalore to Chennai. Two other women on the same train also lost their chains.

“There is a need for policemen to stand at the door when the train halts between stations. Usually, they stand on the platform and blow the whistle when the train reaches the station. But mostly crimes happen when the train stops in some deserted place. Besides, the culprits usually travel in the same train. So if the cops are at the door, they cannot escape,” he suggested.

K.S. Gopalakrishnan, former zonal railway users’ consultative committee member, said GRP personnel patrol only night trains.

“In suburban trains, policemen sit in the ladies compartment and blow the whistle when the train arrives at the station. They are facing a manpower crunch,” he said.

Higher detection rate

However, senior GRP officers said more than 500 personnel are deployed in suburban and express trains in Chennai alone.

“Crime has not increased, but we are detecting more. It is getting increasingly difficult to crack cases,” an officer claimed.

Speaking about deployment of personnel in trains to prevent crime, the officer said that they analyse the crime trend and post policemen accordingly.

“Sometimes, chain snatching or robbery occurs often at one [particular] station, but it changes often. Even the timing changes, but most of the crime occur between midnight and 4 a.m. So patrolling is more during this period," the officer said.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 1:52:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/crimes-on-trains-in-tn-rising/article7368676.ece

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