VIJAYAWADA: The Krishna Pushkarams is expected to attract a whopping 3.5 crore pilgrims and the police expect that such huge crowd would attract habitual criminals like pickpockets, suitcase/bag lifters, chain snatchers and several others. To identify these offenders and thwart their attempts, the Andhra Pradesh police are seeking help from the most unlikely quarters — ex-convicts who are now leading descent life. Similar strategy was used successfully during the Godavari Maha Pushkarams last year.
The State police had information from the intelligence wing that criminals in Andhra Pradesh and other parts of India, are getting ready to strike in Krishna, Guntur and Kurnool districts during the Krishna Pushkarams. They believe that due to its central location and also presence of the Kanakadurga temple, Vijayawada would attract large number of devotees during the Pushkarams. According to intelligence sources, offenders who have criminal records from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Karnataka are prepared to reach Vijayawada at anytime before the pushkarams.
Immediately, the police have identified a massive 28,000 habitual offenders and 2.83 lakhs occasional offenders who have committed crime at least once and also collecting criminal data from remaining states. They have already mapped the localities and respective houses of such regular offenders to geo-tag the houses. If these criminals are missing from their homes during the 12 days of Krishna Pushkarams, the police will get an alert.
Different approaches will be implemented by the police to nab criminals. With the help of old criminals, the police would try to identify and trace the habitual offenders using traditional methods like photo albums, alerting local police and then picking thm up. Further, the digital photographs will be dumped into a server and matched with the CCTV footages to identify and nab the criminals using advanced software technology. The state government had also provided smart tablets to police where the complete criminal data of these miscreants will be stored for picking up them on the go. The police are also planning to create awareness among the public through public address systems and the media.
According to a senior police official, there is a sufficient and efficient police force on field in Vijayawada to check on criminals using advanced technology along with traditional methods. “We used similar methods and could successfully arrest around 200 criminals before or after the crimes happened. For the forthcoming Krishna Pushkarams, we are confident to keep the crimes to the minimum,” he said.