Pune: The year 2017 was one of technological progress for the city police which brought State-level accolades for them. However, the police are yet to strengthen themselves on implementing visible policing in the city to reduce street crimes like robbery, dacoity and others.
The murder of Capgemini employee Antara Das in December 2016 and Infosys employee Rasila Raju OP in January 2017 pushed the city police officials to find ways of assuring safety in one of the largest information technology park of the country. The city police came up with mobile applications like 'CitySafe', 'Buddy Cop' and 'Police Kaka'.
With these three applications, the police were able to reach out to school students, working women and girls. Assistant Commissioner of Police Milind Patil (Cyber and Economic Offences Wing) said that under the leadership of Commissioner of Police Rashmi Shukla, a digital communication network was set up to reach these people.
"There was need of this network which helped us to connect to larger masses and provide safety solutions to the people. We have 'Police Kaka' in all schools and 'Buddy Cops' for working women. Similarly, people can use the 'City Safe' application for a better response from police," added Patil.
These digital initiatives received rewards from the government and later Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis decided to replicate these initiatives at the State-level.
However, when it comes to cyber safety, the city police are yet to kick-start its dedicated cyber police station. While the rural police have already started a cyber police station, the city police are planning to start one at the Shivajinagar police headquarters.
Speaking about violent crimes in the city, the police officials said that there is a slight decline in these crimes. This year around 100 people were murdered. The police said many of these murders were due to domestic violence issues.
Recent incidents of murder in which a 30-year-old man allegedly murdered his parents while they were sleeping and then tried to commit suicide at his residence in Shaniwar Peth in December, rape and murder of a two-year-old girl near Sinhagad Road in October and murder of 71-year-old Radha Madhavan Nair at Ambanagari Housing Society on Dhanori Road in September raised safety concerns for citizens.
The brutal murder of 21-year-old youth Yogiraj Khandale, a second-year student of commerce in Khadki in March by 8 to 10 persons highlighted the involvement of youths in violent crimes.
While visible policing has been on the agenda, the city police have done very little to ensure the same. Former city police commissioner KK Pathak had created several policing points in the city which would act as a contact point for people in case of any problem. It helped to strengthen visible policing in the city but the initiative died slowly.
While the city police started some initiatives like police patrolling in PMPML buses to reduce cases of pickpocketing and mobile theft, they are yet to implement strong visible policing measures.
Speaking on economic offences, the police said citizens continue to fall for Ponzi schemes, matrimonial frauds, gold polishing frauds and several economic offences. The police said that they have improved on reducing chain snatching cases and are working on reducing cases of burglary in the city.