Joint efforts needed to curb crimes: Cops

The recent spate of crimes against women has once again brought the question of their safety and security into spotlight. While police agree that the issue is serious, they say that dealing with it depends on a balance of policing, awareness and a proactive role by women and society.

The attack on a 23-year-old housewife from Kandivali (East) by a besotted neighbour revived the city's concern over women's safety. Following the incident, Bombay High Court observed that the common man is not afraid of the law anymore. Among the serious crimes committed aganinst women this year was the alleged chemical attack on former physiotherapist Aryanka Hosbetkar by film producer Jerrit John, her former boyfriend.

According to the police, the alleged rape of a Spanish woman in Bandra by a burglar last month struck as rare at a time when 90 per cent of rape and molestation cases are committed either by kin or acquaintances of the victims.

"The most obvious method of preventing such crimes is that women should be aware of their environment. This does not mean that they should be suspicious of all their male relatives, friends or colleagues, but it would be wrong to assume that none of these will ever harm them," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy.

Police said while patrolling policemen, and sometimes dedicated squads, have been deployed to prevent crimes like eve-teasing, chain snatching and molestation, crimes of passion have limited scope for prevention. "What we can do is deal with these cases strictly when they occur. This not only provides a sense of support to victims, it also encourages other women to report similar incidents. Many women avoid reporting crimes against them for fear of the stigma it carries," said Dhananjay Kulkarni, DCP, Zone V. "In the Jerrit John case, we took a strict stand. As a result, the victim approached us once again and gave a supplementary statement, which enabled us to invoke the more stringent section of attempt to murder against him," he added.

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