Chennai: The city is at its safest ever since 24 March- This is what the police say when asked about crime rates post implementation of Section 144. It looks like coronavirus has not hit the legal businesses alone, but also the illegal ones.
Other than recording lockdown violation cases, the ‘regular offences’ such as robbery, chain snatching, mobile phone snatching, house break-ins and violence are almost at zero.
This is because everyone is inside their house and police are carrying out intense patrolling. There is no way a crime can be committed.
There is police presence every 100 meters. Take for example T Nagar- one of the largest police districts with a heavy population of families living here and it is also a commercial hub.
“As many as 20 crime cases are registered on an average day. Mostly chain snatching or mobile phone thefts. But for the past 12 days we are filing only 144 violations”, a police source said.
A Sub-Inspector of police explains, “The shops are all closed and people are inside their houses. A person cannot rob with so much policemen roaming around. Even if gold is stolen, the pawn shops are closed, so it is of no use. The TASMAC outlets are not functioning, and this has reduced a lot of Law and Order incidents. Otherwise there will be drunken brawls and domestic violence cases. Even if money is stolen there are no avenues to spend it. There is no use of committing an offence right now.”
Even areas where rowdyism is normally high paint a very laidback picture.
“We keep a check on where the anti-socials are located. We used to get a lot of complaints of rowdyism, family and financial disputes. However, post the lockdown only a single case of a missing mobile phone was filed,” says another officer.
But police fear and predict that there would be a spike in the cases after the lockdown is lifted
Inspector of Thirumangalam, Ravi says, areas like Anna Nagar are peaceful.
“Our whole concentration is on containing coronavirus. The City Commissioner A K Viswanathan and all Joint Commissioners and Additional Commissioners are working on implementing Section 144 effectively and combating the virus. Anna Nagar, like rest of the city, is now low on crimes.”
Interestingly, around 600 inmates from Puzhal were given an interim bail ahead of the lockdown.
When asked how the offenders were being monitored, a police source said, “600 inmates, including 37 women will have to appear before court on 16, 19 and 24 April. They are all first time offenders, mostly family dispute cases. If they fail to appear before court, an arrest warrant will be issued.”