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Kerala - Kochi Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Getting the upper hand

Keeping a tab on migrant workers and a refusal to slacken the crackdown on criminal activity are proving effective in reducing crime, writes Anand Haridas.

THINGS LOOK quiet in the city and its suburbs. Police officers however, say that when the police intensify their drive against anti-social elements, they move out to the outskirts of the city.

"We have a more rigorous patrolling mechanism during night hours, mainly to check illegal sand-mining. This could be one reason for the lesser number of crimes being committed during these months. But it is unfair to always compare the crime ratio of the rural region with that of the city, because while comparing the number of cases registered, the operational territory should also be considered," said Superintendent of Police (Rural), M.N. Jayaprakash.

No let-up

Officers in the city maintain that they did not allow the tempo of the special drive launched for monsoon to slacken. "We cannot afford to slow down now. For, it is very easy for things to get out of control. However, when the crime situation in the city remains under control, instances of housebreaks and burglary are reported from the outskirts like Njarakkal and Varappuzha," said Assistant Commissioner of Police (City), Martin K. Mathew.

A main element in the drop in criminal activity, the police officers point out, was the extensive drive against migrant Tamilians. "We brought almost all Tamil migrants roaming about to the police station and collected their fingerprints and other details. Most of them were genuine cases of labourers looking for jobs. But that definitely served as a deterrent for checking bad elements among them to operate in our region," said Circle Inspector (Thripunithura), James Joseph.

Migrants

The city police, in association with those from the rural wing, had done a prolonged follow-up for the drive against the criminals from Tamil Nadu and investigations were done at their native villages. After the drive, the instances of housebreaks dropped drastically. Even during the Onam period, only totally locked up houses were broken into and the cases registered were much low when compared to previous years.

Recent developments have put residential colonies at Thrikakkara and Kalamassery, in the immediate outskirts of the city, as more prone to house breaks. This being the situation, the Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC) is planning to revitalise its membership drive and include more residents associations from the outskirts.

With the preventive steps being taken in a more organised manner, the criminals have also switched to operating in gangs than venturing out individually. This trend was evident as a couple of jewelleries and financial institutions in the city outskirts were broken into during the recent period.

Security measures

"We have convened a meeting of owners of jewellery and financial institutions and discussed the issue of enhanced security measures like burglar alarms and not storing extra cash or ornaments in the shop. Also, we have provided those in immediate vicinity with our contact numbers so that they could alert us in case of any suspicious development," said Circle Inspector (Chengamanad) T.C. Venugopal.

The police also have information that the habitual criminals are moving out to safer places when the law become strict here. "Many of the criminals in our list were heard operating in places such as Kozhikode and Chavakad ," said Circle Inspector (Mattanchery), M.C. Sukumaran.

This, and the fact that many other prominent names in criminal list are safely behind the bars during the intensified anti-crime drive, has made the police officers here confident that situation is completely under their control.

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