BHUBANESWAR: The commissionerate police issued a WhatsApp number—7077798111—for citizens to report street crimes, including snatching, harassment and eve-teasing in the capital city. Police have also urged the citizens to share credible information, photo and video on street crimes and criminals on the WhatsApp number.
“We will start the service from Tuesday. The WhatsApp number will be functional in addition to the dial 100 emergency number. We urge people not to call on the WhatsApp number. They should only send messages, photos and videos on street crimes and criminals. Details of the informers will not be disclosed,” deputy commissioner of police Uma Shankar Dash said.
The police have been on their toes following a spurt in daylight crimes, especially snatching of mobile phones and chains across the capital city in the last few months. At least 50 snatching incidents have been occurring every month. Some incidents go unreported as the victims do not approach the police for help.
Most of the victims of street crimes are women. In many cases the snatchers attacked the women before snatching their belongings. The police have been treating the snatching cases as robbery to ensure stringent punishment for the snatchers.
Police said they have challenges galore to deal with the growing menace. After releasing the WhatsApp number, the police expect to get positive results with the support of the citizens. “The city has been expanding very fast. The snatchers are coming from Puri, Khurda and other nearby places and committing the offence in Bhubaneswar. Presence of several slums where many anti-socials take shelter is another worry for us. Despite our limited resources, we have been working hard to bust the snatchers’ gangs,” another police officer said. Recently, the commissioner of police Saumendra Priyadarshi asked the inspectors-in-charge of police stations to improve their visibility on streets.
Police said unavailability of adequate CCTV cameras in public places has been posing difficulty to investigate and prevent street crimes. Police sources at least 5,000 CCTV cameras are required to cover the city. Currently, the commissionerate police have only 130 CCTV cameras at different locations. Besides, Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) has 600-odd cameras in the capital city. Police said though a number of people have installed CCTV cameras for their safety, many of these gadgets are of poor quality and not positioned towards roads.