Commuters who come forward to be part of the database will be roped in to alert the police if they spot anything untoward or even help them deduct cases of crimes committed against women on trains.
RPF personnel including women staffers, for the last few weeks, have been boarding coaches reserved for women between 11 pm to 6 am, identified as the most critical time. The sparse crowds on stations as well as inside the coaches at that time make the women commuters far more vulnerable. The last train leaves Churchgate station at 1 am and from Virar around 12.05 am.
Senior Divisional Security Commissioner Rajendra Rupnawar said most commuters travelling in the suburban line take the same train at the same time daily.
“The idea of creating a database sprung from this fact. While we were taking feedback, we also decided to ask women commuters if they could provide us with their mobile numbers so that we could contact them. In case they see something, they will be able to provide more accurate and detailed information. It will also help in creating goodwill among the commuters, who will feel more confident and safer,” said Rupnawar.
Another RPF official said the women commuters have also been given the helpline and control room numbers, so that they can simply call and alert the authorities.
According to RPF estimates, nearly 45,000 women travel between 10 pm and 6 am daily, and while the graph of crimes against women has been on the rise, shortage of staff has handicapped the force. “We have a staff of around 1,280 people and there are over 500 vacancies. Getting home guards is a big hassle. This initiative could help us detect and avert crime against women commuters,’ said a senior RPF official.