Snatchers & Our City? Beware of Money, Gold & Mobile Phone Snatchers on the Rise in Kudla

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Snatchers & Our City? Beware of Money, Gold & Mobile Phone Snatchers on the Rise in Kudla

Mangaluru: Stealing and snatching of wallets/purses and mobile phones is on the rise in this Educational Hub, called Mangaluru. The City which was peaceful and crime/theft free decades ago has turned the opposite way. Making easy money is their aim and snatching is the only skill they have, wreaking havoc by not only snatching people’s valuables but also turning to heinous crime by attacking victims with weapons with impunity. If you look at the news every week, there are incidents of chain snatching, mobile phone snatching, purse snatching, apart from other thefts.

I decided to draft this article after receiving a video on whatsApp, which may be true or videotaped to bring awareness about the ongoing incidents of chain, money and mobile phone snatching in different parts of the Country. And what you see in the video could happen anywhere to anyone- so watch the video and be cautious when you move around in the city, especially during late evening or night hours, and look around you, when you open your purse or wallet, or walking alone busy talking on your mobile- you could be the next victim of chain, money or mobile phone snatching.
For example, a girl is walking alone after her office of college alongside the City road late evening. Her bag is on her right shoulder and she is on her phone when she suddenly feels a jerk. Even before she realizes what has happened, two men on a bike violently try to snatch her purse. She pulls the other way. The only reason why they let go of her is their inability to flee in slow moving traffic. In this case the girl was lucky-if not she could have lost her purse. In the recent months, this Smart City has seen a spurt of such blatant snatching. Men on bikes getting away with gold chains was common but, of late, they are everywhere and no one is safe from them, be it morning, day, evening or night, be it busy marketplace, an office area or the street.

Making easy money is their aim and snatching is the only skill they have. Even youngsters and college going students are no exception.This band is wreaking havoc by not only snatching people’s valuables but many a times even attacking their victims, when they resist to comply with them. Several hands will go up if you ask if they have been victims of snatching. Most will have a tale to tell that will leave you wondering how the perpetrators could come up with such ideas from which nothing is safe. From gold chains to mobile phones, to purses to briefcases to laptops — anything and everything is liable to be snatched. Make a mistake and it is gone. Resist and out comes a knife or worse even a deadly weapon.

The mindset of this new breed of snatchers is different. They rush away from the crime scene. Snatching is not a heinous crime so people involved look at it as a quick getaway. Juveniles get into it to make fast money and the chances of getting caught are slim. With robbery, there is a challenge since there is planning and time consumption. There is also a tussle between the police or the public and the criminal, and when its a juvenile the case is closed. Bah humbug! Sources reveal that as a crime, snatching is pettier than robbery but more serious than theft. Snatching is a crime of anonymity. The victim never gets to see the perpetrator. It takes place within a fraction of a second. The predator comes, grabs the valuables and runs.

By the time the victim realizes what has happened, it is too late to catch hold of him or raise an alarm. When they use a weapon and the time taken to commit the crime increases, it is called robbery. The victim gets into a tussle with the perpetrators and may get hurt or killed. Now the question is, “Who are these snatchers and what is their modus operandi?”. Most are bootleggers, juveniles and school dropouts. They never had parenting control and harbour greed to own expensive phones, and make fast money. They usually reside in unorganized colonies and stay in cheap hotels. Due to the lack of border policing, it becomes easy for these criminals to escape to other States.

Recently in Mangaluru, even Women were caught by the police who too are involved in this growing racket. The police on investigation found that these women from northern State were found involved in various theft and snatching cases. Several stolen items were recovered from the women gang. The targets are easy to mark. If you are travelling in a rickshaw, auto or walking on the road talking on the phone or just holding your phone in your hand and are distracted about your belongings, you are a perfect target. You are vulnerable when you step out of the bus, bank or money exchange centre.

A person who is in charge of parking of vehicles at Mangalore Junction Railway Station speaking to Team Mangalorean said that there is a gang in that vicinity who are good at snatching valuables, especially mobile phones, from the people walking alone in the dark road (since there are no street lights) near the Station, and many such incidents have taken place recently. And still, the railways department has not installed any street lights on the streets leading to the Station. How nice, and we are talking about making our both our City’s railway stations of International standards. What a joke?

A retired SP speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “The chain snatchers’ mode of mobility is two-wheeler which, in many cases, are stolen vehicles. Snatching takes place by pedestrians too but they are so clever that they escape by fooling the public. The predators look for a less visited road with good chances of escape. In most cases, the victims are women as it is easy to take away a chain, mobile phone or handbag from them. A lot of men reported snatchers taking away their expensive mobile phones and laptops costing Rs 10,000 to a lakh. And also that due to the increasing rate of gold, chain snatching cases have increased. Instead of selling gold ornaments, some chain snatchers are keeping it as mortgage with renowned gold loan companies for taking loans”.

“Snatching is one of the biggest street crimes which has created an element of fear and trauma. Despite the police patrolling and CCTV cameras installed at various places, snatchers manage to flee the crime scene. When they do get caught, they are booked under Section 379 of IPC (punishment for theft) or Section 356 for assault or criminal force in attempt to commit theft of property carried by a person. There is no separate law or punishment for chain-snatching. Theft gets them a maximum of three years in jail with/both fine. Assault for theft is only two years of jail. Robbery carries a sentence of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine. But due to lack of evidence, the robbery charges are discarded in most cases” he said.

Therefore it looks like that there are many challenges in ways to bringing down snatching cases. From the shortage of police patrolling staff at checkpoints, to cops hesitant to file FIRs and instead, going for a more informal complaint so as to keep the crime rate low, the challenges are many. With a low conviction rate, snatchers get an escape route and come out of jail within a few months. Also that the victim goes into shock and rarely remembers the snatcher’s face or the vehicle he was riding on. After filing a case, victims don’t come for follow-up and thus, the case closes. Also, they quickly dispose of the things they snatched. So what’s the solution for this menace.

I think the only solution is that BE CAUTIOUS! Watch around you when you open your purse or wallet; if you are walking alone talking on your mobile phone, keep an eye around in front and behind, don’t wear expensive “Bling Bling” gold ornaments around your neck- and once again, I will say it again- BE CAUTIOUS & YOU’LL BE SAFE from predators.

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1 Comment

  1. CCTV cameras and any technology can never control or contain any crime, anywhere in the world including the most advanced country, the USA.

    Here are a few safety tips:

    What is really required for the people from the time one gets out from their home is to always remember: ONLY YOU CAN SAVE YOURSELF!

    1, Do not wear gold jewelry – instead, wear dress jewelry – In India, people have the tendency to wear gold rings on any or all fingers and a couple of gold chains. and think it reflects how rich they are! Men are no exception too!

    2, Do not carry all your Credit or Debit Cards or all your cash with you- instead, some draw cash for a week’s expense and just carry at the most 5 x Rs.100.- notes in your wallet or your handbag for your daily commute or for daily petty expenses.

    3. Always walk facing the oncoming traffic and on the right side of the pavement and not on the kerb – and keep your bag slung across on your should with the handbag to your left side with traffic moving to the right.

    4. Do not travel in those packed buses that are not regulated by the Transport Dept. for maximum passenger capacity- it only encourages thieves and sexual perverts.

    5, Do not stay out after 7 pm to avoid drunkards, drug addicts, and criminals who hang out at these hours and later.

    6. Cell phones or Smart Phones are very pricey and sell like hotcakes! Technology can unlock or hack any password protection when stolen. Do not carry your cell phone in your hand to show off the brand or the model, as most people of today’s age do. It’s not safe in the eyes of thieves.

    7. If the law cannot control, contain, and stop the menace of crime – no one can!

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