Delhi has been witnessing a spurt in crimes in the recent months and the incidents of snatching have particularly increased manifold.
From petty criminals to the hardened ones, the 'snatcher gangs' have found Delhi a safe haven to operate, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Crime Branch, Joy Tirkey.
"They (snatchers) mostly target women on streets, with an objective of snatching hand bags, mobile phones and gold chains or necklaces. During investigation, we found that some of the criminals were part of criminal tribes who sneak into Delhi from places like Moradabad," he said.
On the involvement of criminals from neighbouring places in snatching crimes, former Delhi Police Commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma said better coordination is required with the police forces of bordering states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, to identify such gangs.
According to a dossier prepared on the gangs involved in snatching or auto-thefts, criminals, in most cases, shuttle in and out of Delhi on daily basis.
For instance, a gang with more than two dozen members was active in Dwarka area of South West Delhi where they targeted people going to banks, either to deposit money or withdraw large amounts. The gang, according the dossier, used to snatch bags from the customers outside the banks.
Finally, the gang was identified and its roots were traced to PAC colony in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad, where a criminal tribe was based for years.
Elaborating on the modus operandi of these criminals, an ACP-rank officer of Delhi's Crime Branch told that during investigation, he discovered boys, ranging in the age group of 17 to 25, arrive from districts like Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Moradabad and Rampur by train in the evening.
"During the night, they slept on the railway platform and by next evening, they committed crimes like snatching mobile phones or gold chains worn by women in different places of the capital. By evening, they used to return home with the looted bounty," he said.
Some time back, 17 criminals, all natives of Moradabad were arrested by the police in cases ranging from snatching, pick pocketing to auto theft, the official added.
While Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik has instructed Special Commissioner (Crime) Satish Golcha to list such inter-district gangs and launch a state-wide drive against them, a section of police officials feel that police has to "pull the trigger" on hardened criminals who are now using guns to threaten victims.
The frequent use of firearms in incidents of car hijacking or snatching mobile phones or handbags is gradually turning Delhi into a crime capital.
Though Ajai Raj Sharma did not wish to speak much on the strategy of Delhi top cops, who at the moment seem to be shying away from police encounters of criminals, the Uttar Pradesh cadre retired IPS officer felt that a major reason for sudden rise in capital's crime graph is migration of professional criminals from Western UP, where more than 300 criminals have been gunned down in the past two years.
"The police has to be tough, have an upper hand in dealing with hardened criminals. Hot pursuit of wanted criminals is one such step this direction," said Sharma, a former Delhi Police Chief.
( With inputs from IANS )