Surging gold prices to blame for rise in chain-snatching cases in Kerala?

Chain-snatching incidents have been on the rise, shows state crime records bureau data. In 2020, the number of such cases stood at 261, which went up in 2021 to 343.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

KOCHI:  Higher inflation and the resultant jump in interest rates have left the economy sluggish and ensured the flight of investors into safe-haven assets, such as gold. This has seen yellow metal prices skyrocketing. However, in what can be seen as a downside has been the increase in criminal activity linked to gold.      

    
Chain-snatching incidents have been on the rise, shows state crime records bureau data. In 2020, the number of such cases stood at 261, which went up in 2021 to 343. Last year, it touched nearly 400, triggering concern from law enforcement agencies and the public alike. However, police failed to solve nearly half of the cases. Gold prices, meanwhile, have increased from around Rs 24,000 for one sovereign at the end of 2019 to Rs 44,760 as on April 26, 2023.

It’s difficult to link the rise in chain-snatching to soaring gold prices. But, we are certain that it is a contributing factor. With gold prices shooting up, criminals are finding an easy way of making money. Unfortunately, its youngsters who are mostly involved, said K Karthick, superintendent of police, Kottayam. As per a police analysis, the increase in gold prices have attracted more than just habitual offenders.

“Recently, we arrested three persons in Kottayam in connection with an incident of chain snatching. All three are not habitual offenders. While one got involved to repay a loan, another did it to arrange funds to go abroad. Since the price of gold has soared and the risk of return is high, they opted in,” Karthick added.Recently, two Tamil Nadu natives were nabbed for snatching a woman’s gold chain. They also attacked two cops who tried to catch them.

“A criminal who indulges in housebreaks will never commit other crimes. This has been the norm. But now offenders are shifting their area of operation. Those involved in other crimes have taken to chain snatching. For them, the risk involved is less as their main target is elder women,” said an officer with Kochi City police, who was recently involved in busting a chain-snatching gang.

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