New Delhi: When one thinks of pickpockets, one would usually imagine a shady-looking fellow, loitering around at a public place eyeing his target.
However, according to recent data released by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), 92 per cent of the total pickpockets nabbed in the Delhi Metro in 2013 are women.
The CISF has caught a total of 451 pickpockets from Januray 1 to November 20 this year, out of whom 415 are women, and only 36 men.
In June, a total of 115 female pickpockets were nabbed, as opposed to one man.
In October, 26 female pickpockets were nabbed, while no male sneak thief was caught.
“There is no specific look which can help identify them. They look like another harmless lady travelling alongside you, but statistics prove that they aren’t that harmless. In fact, some of the ones we have nabbed were dressed in business formals (branded clothes), usually carrying a conference bag and pretending to work on their laptop,” a CISF official said.
Many of them even carry a baby, and wear salwar kameez or sari to avoid any suspicion.
“They operate during rush hours for obvious reasons and take advantage of crowded trains. These women are mostly active on the Yellow line (Jahangirpuri to Huda City Centre). While, one wouldn’t expect a sneak thief to speak fluent English, these women do. And hence can easily be mistaken as a working professional or a college student,” he added.
According to sources, most of these women work in gangs and board the trains as a team during rush hours. The Delhi Metro Rail Police (DMRP) arrested one such gang of 21 women sneak thieves in 2011.
But even if these women are caught during the act, victims don’t pursue the case and as a result, the anti-social elements are let off with only a warning.
“The DMRC security force in association with Delhi Police has sent pictures of the usual suspects to all Metro stations and we do surveillance through CCTV cameras. As in when, any of them are spotted at the stations, they are immediately stopped and interrogated. Furthermore, there are also officials in civil uniforms deployed to monitor the stations and curb these activities,” the official said.