Affluence fuels crime in south-east Bengaluru: Police

Bengaluru: Areas in southeast Bengaluru continue to report the highest incidence of crime in the city. Police have a rather simple explanation for it – the law of demand and supply.

“A thief, robber or anti-social element is sure he/she will at least be able to get something in these areas. Chances are they will land much more than a smartphone,” said a senior police officer from the southeast division.

Southeast Bengaluru reflects all that is good and bad about the city’s transformation. If areas like Electronics City, Whitefield and ITPB gave Bengaluru its IT hub status, adjacent localities like Koramangala and HSR Layout have now made it the startup capital of the country. The changes are reflected in the crime statistics. As per data from the police department, the southeast division recorded about 5,783 crimes in 2011. In 2015, the number doubled to 10,265.

Cops say HSR Layout and Koramangala, home to a large number of startups and educational institutions, have a young affluent population, a large chunk of it being students. In 2011, HSR Layout police station recorded 454 cases and Koramangala 574. In 2015, the numbers climbed to 1,074 and 760 respectively.

Police officials point at the incidence of crimes to justify their demand-supply theory. The southeast division has 14 police staions. While HAL, Tilak Nagar, Bommanahalli and Mico Layout police stations have high populations in their jurisdictions, the maximum crimes are reported from Madiwala, Mico Layout, HSR Layout and HAL police station limits.

Tilak Nagar police station which has 7,00,000 residents in its jurisdiction reported 325 cases in 2015. But Mico Layout with a population of roughly 5,00,000 reported about 1,117 cases and Madiwala with a population of 5,55,000 recorded over 2,409 cases. Madiwala, in fact, has the dubious distinction of seeing the highest number of FIRs being registered per year in Karnataka.

According to inspector Sadiq Pasha, who was transferred from Tilak Nagar to HAL police station a fortnight ago, the socio-economic status of residents is reflected in the nature of crime reported in the area. “Thickly populated slums see more cases of conflicts, especially physical offences. In areas predominated by the middle and upper middle classes, there are more property-related crimes,” he said.

In Madiwala, two other factors contribute to the the high number of cases. “Madiwala has a huge number of techies who can easily commute to Electronics City, Bommanahalli and HSR Layout, and students. This is reflected in the number of paying guest accommodations. Also, Madiwala has a large floating population,” the cop explained. Thus the area reports a very high incidence of property-related crimes, pick-pocketing, chain-snatching, theft and vehicle-lifting. Madiwala’s population density and geography make it more prone to crime, he said.

Anupama Kilari, who leads the Neighbourhood Watch initiative of Whitefield Rising, says southeast Bengaluru is growing. “The resources in police stations are simply not enough.” Southeast division police are working with residents to form neighbourhood groups and advising them on infrastructure enhancements. These include installing CCTV cameras in apartments.

The incidence of crime in tony but densely populated Whitefield is largely steady – 314 cases were reported in 2011, 320 in 2012, 370 in 2013, 426 in 2014 and 367 in 2015. The number stands at 220 as of June 30 this year. While the marginal increase may not be an indication but “aggression on the streets is increasing,” said Nithya Ramakrishnan of Whitefield Rising.

“The types of crimes have changed. It’s not just thefts, robberies and murders. We are seeing a large number of cases of land encroachment,” said Anupama Kilari. “While law and order issues are largely under control, online fraud, white collar crimes and incidents of phishing are on the rise. So are traffic violations,” she said.

Credits Times of India

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