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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With armed robbers not giving two hoots to police,  the Police Commissionerate needs to revisit the idea of crime-zone mapping in the twin city, which it mulled over some eight years back  but had put in cold storage following apprehensions, and to some extent hard lobbying by the real estate developers.

Where crime zone mapping is in vogue in India? Ahmedabad and Ajmer have put in the concept quite successfully. Ajmer police has used the Geographical Information System (GIS) technology for the mapping.

Why the police there implemented crime-zone mapping? The police of respective cities brought in the concept post series of daring daylight robberies and loots.

How can the Police Commissonerate here avail the mapping to its hilt when it is woefully short of manpower.

Sample the misery. In order to maintain law and order, the police commissionerate here is managing with only half of its personnel, when a high of around 1,160 personnel under Special Security Battalion provides round-the-clock security to vital installations and VVIPs and another over 1300 are under Armed Battalion. Thus, for over 14 lakh population under Commissionerate Jurisdiction, there are only around 2,400 police personnel to maintain law and order. The police - population ratio then is estimated at mere 171 police personnel for a lakh population.

How crime-zone mapping could prove panacea? Under the concept, police have to identify the ‘crime spots’ and ‘striking hours’ to deal with the rising incidents of dacoities, robberies, burglaries and other violent crimes in the twin city area.

In 2018, dacoities in the twin cities had risen by around 25 per cent from the triennial average, though the data available with Commissionerate police record a dip in robbery cases.

It is worth mentioning here that dacoity and robbery are separated by a thin-line under Indian Penal Code (IPC). In 'dacoity', the 'robbery' has to be undertaken by at least five men.

In the crime-zone mapping, police have to identify a police limit area to rate safety quotient of that area based on crime load. This exercise will help the police in identifying the 'crime spots' and the 'striking hours'.

How the exercise will keep the law-breakers under tight leash?

Post completion of mapping exercise, supervision-cum-patrolling squads would then be formed for each police station. Because, universal patrolling is neither feasible nor considered good policing.

The mapping exercise will first undertake a geographical profiling evaluating specifics of the area like, whether it is residential or commercial; details of locals and their profession like number of businessmen/high net worth individuals residing etc. Simultaneously, it will prepare a database on history-sheeters and absconders area-wise.

"Mapping would help police understand the origin of crime, crime carriers and their local handlers, the network it follows and even new gangs intruding in. The police would then clearly identify areas as per the nature of crime and could brief its officials accordingly to operate in the areas," explained a high-ranking police official involved with crime zone mapping concept. He added that only crime-zone mapping will make the Beat Police System functional.

Why the realtors see red? The realtors see red in crime-zone mapping as they fear that such a public mapping could crash the realty prices in the identified zones, quipped the high ranking official.

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