Here are my 5 observations on recent spate of crime in Mumbai.
+ UNORGANISED CRIME:The decade of 90s was characterised by the organised underworld gangs headed by Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Rajan, Arun Gawli & so on. Shootouts & gangwars were rampant. Most of the targets of gangs were affluent people like builders, jewellers, film personalities etc. Present days are dominated by unorganised criminals who either operate independently or in small groups. They are involved in crimes like chain & bag snatching, house breaking, robbery, theft etc. Their targets are mostly women & senior citizens.
+ LACK OF DETERRENCE: Criminals aren’t afraid of cops anymore. Stringent measures like “encounters” & application of laws like MCOCA have declined. Most of the officers having reliable networks of informers are jailed, suspended or dismissed from the service on genuine/fake charges of links with the underworld & corruption. Rest dont want to risk their career by going out of the way to control crime.
+ PRIORITY OF POLICE: Police is not seen as chasing criminals today. Their priority seems to be shifted towards raiding hookah joints & beer bars. Moral policing seems to be on top of the agenda.
+ LACK OF CONSISTENCY: Every new police commissioner comes and announces his own policies and programmes and discontinues or stops support to the ones initiated by their predecessors. There were brilliant strategies adopted by previous police commissioners pertaining to women and senior citizens security…but they have not been maintained.
+ INFIGHT WITHIN THE POLICE FORCE: Various wings & branches of Mumbai Police do not share cordial relations & dirty politics dominates the functioning. Police Commissioner unofficially formed its own squad and gave extra ordinary powers to it. This led to squad’s competition with the crime branch.
There are many other factors also like corruption, stress of policemen, poor working and living conditions, but such factors are as old as the concept of police. They do not specifically characterise the present times.