Are you planning to come to Mumbai ?. Before entering the city, keep your gold chains close to your chest as chain snatching has become the order of the day in the city, especially its suburban trains which is called the lifeline of this vibrant city.
In 2009, gold chains worth Rs 96 lakh were snatched on the city’s local trains, as against Rs 73 lakh worth of gold chains stolen in 2008. Though the statistics for the current year is yet to be released, but it is on the rise as the gold prices are touching an all time high of Rs 19,000 per 10grams’
Criminals who used to steal mobile phones or indulged in pickpocketing are increasingly switching to chain-snatching because of the assured returns. Pickpocketing and mobile thefts are no longer considered lucrative for two main reasons — commuters have started carrying credit and debit cards instead of cash, and most mobile phones can be easily traced as the IMEI number of the handset.
The Thane railway police on April 9 had arrested Ashok Shinde, 20, along with his associate Swapnil Mahadik, 20, for snatching a four-tola gold chain and mobile phone from a college student at Diva station. First-time offender Shinde, a resident of Diva, took to snatching gold ornaments as it fetched him more than what he earned by hawking peanuts at Kalyan station. Shinde had noticed women commuters wearing gold chains and ‘mangalsutras’ during Diwali.
Many new offenders – the children of the women selling flowers in ladies compartments, burqa-clad women and drug addicts – have taken to chain-snatching.
Meanwhile, police have formed a special team of 10 women constables to detect the chain snatchers. These constables will be disguised as commuters, wearing costly saris and heavy gold ornaments.