KOCHI: The recent thefts reported in the city this month alone, has left the public in fear of their safety. At least three textile shops were broken into and robbed at Broadway market street. Resident associations say they are worried and allege that the police is yet to beef up security in many resident areas also.
“Though we have requested to beef up security several times in the city premises, our plaint has fallen on deaf ears. We need a proper patrolling system,” said Rangadasa Prabhu, president, Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC).
Most residents, according to him, are now resorting to their own surveillance measures, including setting up security cameras and appointing security personnel for their homes.
Residents associations pointed out unavailability of police patrolling in pocket roads which is contributing to crimes in the city. “There are number of vacancies in the police department which is affecting patrolling at the night hours. This is at the risk of residents safety,” Rangadasa Prabhu alleged.
However, dismissing the allegations, police officials say night patrolling is not an issue. “Though, we have many issues to handle, we are managing with the existing force. It is not the lack of personnel which is affecting our patrolling, but lack of proper street lights in pocket roads. We have formally requested the Corporation to fix the lights,” said Laljy K, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ernakulam.
The police also say that though crimes are occurring in the city, household thefts have dwindled. “With effective night patrolling, the number of household crimes are dwindling in the city. Three robberies took place at Market Road. We are investigating the matter ,” Laljy said. Officials have dismissed allegations of migrants role in robbery cases.
Meanwhile, Hibi Eden MLA said many petty cases have come to his attention. “Constant cases of theft have been reported from Ernakulam General Hospital. The seats of Queen’s walkway are also being destroyed. In lieu of this, I have proposed an advance surveillance system which will soon become a reality,” said Hibi Eden MLA.
As per the project, private CCTV camera will be linked with police servers. “More than nine police stations in my jurisdiction will coordinate the networks and cables of household cameras with the official server. Through this project, all the streets will be under surveillance,” says Hibi. “As we have limitation to spend the local development fund for such a project, I am trying to execute it as a project of the police department. Police will soon convene a meeting with residents associations across the city. Once finalised, we will submit it for approval for the next financial year,” he adds.
Officials are also experimenting with new strategies to curtail theft. “By introducing methods like cycle patrolling and roam around in mafti, we are putting in our best effort to ensure residents safety,” he adds.
SHOP OWNERS UP SAFETY
- On the backdrop of recent thefts, the merchants of Kochi has decided to ensure night patrolling teams of their own to work alongside the police.
- With such an arrangement, they are hoping to improve efficiency of regular patrolling. Apart from the surveillance, they will send out alerts to the police once an incident occurs.