The Kankanady region, that saw a decline in thefts over a period of two years, has woken up to a harsh reality — crime rates are up again. Though thefts and other crimes were not new to this region earlier, it had gradually declined after the formation of a team of civilians who took it upon themselves to protect their neighbourhood.
The team initiated a self-help beat system on January 15, 2010. According to the system, Kankanady was divided into five zones — Mahalingeshwara temple area, Everest Flat, Ganga Layout, Kamalamma Layout and Kukkudadi. Seven teams consisting of seven members conducted surveillance in these zones. The teams worked on a weekly rotation basis.
The teams went on regular beats in these areas. Whenever they came across a person whose movements were suspicious, they would question him. During one beat, the team nabbed an interstate robber and handed him over to the police. However, the team was forced to stop its activities after the police department stopped cooperating with them. The police department had got complaints from the public that the team of civilians were inconveniencing them while they travelled through the area at night. They were annoyed at being stopped and questioned and they had complained to the police.
Prabhakar Srian, a senior member of the locality and a member of the team said with the formation of the civilian team, the number of crimes had fallen. “We continued the operation for nearly two years. The police department did not provide the necessary support to the system, and we were forced to stop,” he said. DCP Mutturaya said, “If the civilian team restarts its operation, we are ready to provide support. Without public support, the police alone cannot do anything.”