Road to crime runs along rail tracks, many follow it
नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Cops say CCTV footage plays big role in catching criminals on Metro network. For some criminals, the wheels of Northern Railway and, to a limited extent, Delhi Metro offer a swift mode of movement between crimes and even for escaping from the city after the job is done.
Small-time pickpockets, bag-lifters and snatchers who literally live in trains or survive in areas close to platforms in the National Capital Region are a threat to city dwellers.
“Resistance in some bag/gold chain-snatching incidents also invites attacks with blades and knives,” says a Delhi Police officer.
“These criminals virtually do not belong to any state. Some of them are drug addicts or vagabonds,” he says.
They board trains when they slow down while approaching a major station in the city, and make use of the slow speed also to get off after a strike. “Some gangs even pull the chain to stop trains in the NCR to escape after snatchings or thefts,” says a police officer.
Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways) agrees. “Some of the criminals who operate in trains linking Delhi to neighbouring areas and northern states are virtually faceless as it is difficult to identify them after they mingle with passengers.”
“There haven’t been any big and violent incident in trains passing through Delhi areas,” he says.
Major crimes, like robberies on trains in Delhi would prove risky for armed criminals. Escape would be a problem. “They would need some other mode of transport for escaping from the crime scene and in Delhi, it would not be easy for them to run away without facing police,” he says.
Bhatia says CCTV coverage of railway platforms and Metro facilities is the biggest weapon against crime.
He says there is hardly any part of the Metro network that can be used by criminals, which is not covered by CCTV.
Once Metro CCTV footage was used to arrest a thief from Bihar, another officer says.Snatchings on dark stretches of tracks as trains approach a major station have been a cause of concern.
“Criminals use darkness for hiding themselves at points before railway platforms from where they can snatch bags of passengers standing close to a coach gates,” says an officer.
Police officers say the porous nature of railway tracks — with unchecked access at different points — allows these criminals to escape from the area. “Some gang members also try to synchronise their strike with the movement of other trains in such a way that they manage to board a train soon after a crime,” says an officer.
Bhatia says Delhi Police have communicated with the railway authorities to ensure better lights, preferably high-mast lamps near the tracks leading to the platforms. “Escaping from the tracks and coaches after crimes would become difficult for criminals if the areas are properly lit,” he says.
Till the time the lights are installed, Bhatia says they have taken steps to keep criminals at bay. “Our men holding torches are stationed at points on tracks where the trains slow down before stopping at platforms at major stations.”
“We also advise trains passengers standing at the gates of coaches to keep the doors closed to avoid a surprise snatching attempt by criminals hiding in the cover of darkness,” he adds.