Most culprits are drug addicts who are in desperate need of money says Police.
The number of chain snatching cases is down by 15% in Karnataka since 2017, according to police data show. But there are several settlements and villages on Bengaluru’s outskirts where robbers have a field day.
Mani S, who lives near Devagere Cross, said: “I was attacked when I was walking back home from Kumbalgodu. Three men in a car approached me. As soon as they stopped, one of them jumped out and held a knife to my throat, the others joined in after a while. I had no option but to hand over my chain, wallet with Rs 750 in it, and watch. When they were done robbing me, they disappeared. They had their number plate covered with black paper or tape. I registered an FIR the day after.”
On November 7, around 8.30 pm, a man was robbed near the BGS International Residential School. Five men on two bikes intercepted him, mugged him, and left him with multiple severe injuries.
Nagaraj K, the sub-inspector of the Kumbalgodu police station, said: “Crimes like chain snatching are very difficult to check. A few years ago, Kumbalgodu used to be one of the most dangerous areas to reside in. Chain snatching, thefts and burglaries were the most common cases we had to deal with. From the end of September to the beginning of November, seven cases of chain snatching were registered in Ramanagara; three were filed in the Kumbalgodu police station.”
According to the data, chain snatching cases have decreased since 2017. Between January and September 2017, 686 such cases were registered across the state. The number of cases for the corresponding period in 2018 fell to 613. It dipped to 595 this year.
K.N. Kumaraswamy, station house officer of the Kumbalgodu police station, said: “In most cases, these criminals are drug addicts who get desperate for money. There have been many instances where we have seen fights happen among criminals over sharing profits. When one member is critically injured and taken to a medical facility, it is easy for us to make arrests. Once we get to the injured, we can easily figure out the reason why the fight broke out. That is when they reveal themselves.”
Locals spoke of similar cases occurring along the road that connects K. Gollahalli village with Kumbalgodu. Some praised the police for arresting culprits, but the fear of being robbed still terrorizes the people.
Dahit Saha, an engineering student residing in K.R. Puram, said: “A few months ago, I was returning on my bike late in the night when a few people blocked my way. The moment I stopped, I felt a blow on the back of my head which threw me on the ground. I don’t wear chains, but I had four rings on me. After hitting me a few times, they started pulling out the rings from my fingers. One of them was keen on stealing my bike, but the others intervened and stopped him from doing so. I filed a case as soon as I was back on my feet.”
Vivek Kumar, a journalism student, shared how he was robbed near Jayanagar. On his way back home, three men threatened him with a knife and snatched his chain, the cash he was carrying, and his cellphone. They ran in different directions after mugging him.
Robbery is punishable under Section 392 of IPC with rigorous imprisonment which may be extended up to ten years. A convicted person shall also be liable to pay a fine.
R Ravi, a criminal lawyer, said: “In areas where the crime rate is high, police patrolling should be increased. Police should keep an eye out for people gathered in groups. These groups should be questioned. In crime-prone areas, people should avoid going out late. If it’s unavoidable, they should stay alert.”