BENGALURU: The easing of the lockdown in the past few weeks saw crime creeping back, a development which Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao had foreseen, and which increases the workload of police personnel. While April saw 1,157 law and order cases registered across the city, the number increased to 2,058 cases in May.
At a press conference at the end of Lockdown 1.0, Rao had asked elderly people and women who live alone to be vigilant about their personal safety and belongings. The police had issued an oral advisory to the general public too.
“I urge citizens to keep their belongings safe. Maintain a simple life as it is important to not show your wealth. We are seeing an increase in law and order cases such as mobile-snatching, chain-snatching and thefts,” Rao added. Several police sources told TNIE that with alcohol readily available after restrictions were lifted on May 4, street brawls, thefts, cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and missing cases are on the rise.
Though there has been some let-up in Covid-19 duty, police personnel continue to keep tabs on containment areas and coordinate with the state government on sending migrant workers back home. They also have to return to regular crime-solving duties, as crimes pick up pace. “We have to manage Covid-related issues and the registration of migrant workers, along with law and order cases. We are somehow managing since we don’t have a choice. This is part of our job,” said a police sub-inspector.
With an increase in unemployment, there could be a peak in the number of crimes in the next couple of months, sociologist Dr BC Mylarappa told The New Indian Express. “There is huge unrest among our youth due to insecurity regarding employment. Indulging in crime is their easiest means of survival since they will be psychologically weak,” he said, but added that it was unclear to what degree the crime rate could shoot up.
Soumendu Mukherjee, Additional Commissioner of Police (West), said this is an unprecedented situation. “We have to strike a fine balance while handling cases. Earlier, our job was to enforce lockdown and containment of the disease, but now we are gradually moving into core policing as well,” he said, adding that the current scenario is more challenging for the police. “We have not given any instructions on priority to any kind of work. We have to respond immediately, whether it is Covid or not,” said S Murugan, Additional Commissioner of Police (East).