Reports of almost daily thefts have been giving Doonites sleepless nights over the last few months, with media reports totalling the value of loot at Rs 60 lacs in last 3 months alone. Banks, homes and shops have been broken into with amazing regularity, sometimes as many as three different places a night! Slogan shouting and agitation by traders and relentless criticism by the local media has put the town’s police under tremendous pressure to control the spree of thefts, but one must realize that it is impossible for the police to physically patrol all the lanes and bye lanes of our City each night.
The most amazing incident occurred recently when robbers broke through the wall of SBI Saharanpur Chowk Branch from the outside to gain direct entrance to the Banks Strong Room! It is beyond comprehension how in spite of repeated bank robberies in Dehra Dun over the last few years, a number of our Banks still do not have guards or CCTV cameras or alarms. Repeated written circulars which have been sent out by the District Administration have obviously been ignored. Bank Managers are probably complacent because their banks are insured by Public Insurance Agencies and therefore are likely to recover their losses, but then it is the tax payer’s money in the end which is lost. Bank Managers who do not properly secure their banks must be held personally responsible for the losses. The District Administration would probably be right in closing down Bank branches which do not have basic security facilities, even now.
The most important onus on preventing home robberies is the home owner himself. Most of the localities in Doon do not have security guards as people do not want to pay salaries and believe in the dictum “it cannot happen to me”, until it is too late. A number of recent robberies in Doon have happened because the residents went out of town for a few days without informing their neighbours and without having any locality guard, only to return home to find even their wash basins gone!
Other basic precautions of preventing theft at home is by ensuring all doors and windows are locked at night, having adequate lightening around the house with no dark areas, if possible a dog at home and not opening the door without identifying the person through a peephole. With basic CCTV cameras now costing only Rs 1500/- an adequate Home security system can now be installed for as less as Rs 8000/-. The mere presence of cameras is an adequate deterrent for most criminals. Growing thorny rose bushes under windows is an easy way of making the task of breaking in painful! Similarly, central CCTV’s can easily be installed by traders themselves in market areas to deter thefts.
As the winter blues give way to the summer sun, the troubling spike in the incidents of thefts will undoubtedly come down. But we must take preventive measures before blaming the Police for every robbery in town.
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