A special drive against pickpockets has been launched by the CISF in the Delhi Metro after it witnessed three-fold rise in the numbers of those apprehended, over 500, by it in the first five months of this year as compared to same period last year.
A total of 521 pickpockets have been apprehended by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, themselves or with the help of alert passengers, between January and May this year, with 90 per cent of them being woman.
"A large scale preventive drive has been launched in the Delhi Metro by involving multiple teams to curb pickpocketing incidents, which are taking place almost every other day. Over 500 such people have been caught in the first five months of this year alone," a senior CISF official said.
The official said special anti-theft squads, who fan out in the metro coaches and stations area with or without their 'khaki' uniform, have been deployed on each route sometime back to identify the thieves and curb such incidents.
They are nabbing criminals who pickpocket gullible passengers every other day from various stations especially those which receive a heavy foot fall like Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate, Central Secretariat, Chandni Chowk, HUDA City Centre and Shahdara among others.
Few among these are inter-change stations and passengers here are more vulnerable to pickpocketing owing to heavy crowd, the official said.
The force has also urged the pickpocket victims to lodge an formal complaints or FIRs with the police to check the menace.
"The passengers, in maximum cases, are not willing to lodge police cases and hence pickpockets keep moving in the metro network soon after they are released after their brief detention. We would urge more and more people to file police complaints to effectively check this menace," the official said.
According to CISF data, a total of 401 women and 120 men pickpockets have been apprehended by the CISF personnel or passengers between January-May this year, a figure which is about three times higher than the corresponding period last year.
"We cannot categorise this menace as a women or a man thieves problem. No doubt, women constitute over 90 per cent of pickpockets as they escape the radar of suspicion much easily than men, but this crime needs to be curbed and checked effectively. The special drive is a move in this direction," said another CISF officer.
On May 31, a CISF team caught a few persons at a metro station and recovered a mobile phone of a passenger, but the commuter refused to file a police complaint, he said, adding the force could do nothing but released the culprit.
On June 2, 3 and 4 the CISF teams apprehended 21, 15 and 16 woman pickpockets respectively and recovered gold jewellery and cash from them and handed them over to the Delhi police for a detail probe.
Similarly, on May 22, a team apprehended few pickpockets who had stolen USD 20,000 (about Rs 12.85 lakh) from a commuter and the case was handed over to police and an FIR was filed, they said.
"We urge metro commuters to lodge police complaints so that this menace could be curbed, else it will continue to be categorised as a petty crime in the most popular mode of transport in Delhi," the official said.
The CISF is tasked to guard the over 150 stations of the rapid rail network that is used by about 26 lakh passengers every day to travel to their destinations in the national capital and adjoining cities of Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon.