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Living with fear

Recently, when returning from office in the evening, I was mugged. The snatchers even attacked me and almost choked me.

There’s a DDA park in Dwarka Sector 19 — between pocket 2 & 3 — and the incident happened there. I was walking from Dwarka Sector 11 Metro. I take this route every day. It was dark, around 7 pm – and the street lights were not working. There were three men on a bike, who entered the park and tried to snatch my bag.

I was on my phone. They came from the back and grabbed me. Initially, I thought they wanted to snatch my phone. I tightened my grip on it. But they went for my bag — it was my usual office bag. They probably assumed it will have a laptop or something. But thankfully, I had no such valuables in it — except some cash and an iPhone charger. During the scuffle, a few items from the bag fell off. But I got those back.

One guy on the bike choked me, that too with a lot of force. I kept screaming for help, but no one was there in the vicinity at that time. After this, they left with the bag. I lodged an FIR, and the police came as well. I sustained several injuries on my ear and leg.

The police could not trace the criminals. Most of the CCTV cameras that are installed in the vicinity are not working. The gates of the park were also not closed. Had they been closed, the bike could not have made its way into the park.

Police must ensure that CCTV cameras are installed at all the important points in the society. Moreover, I believe the police are preoccupied with other issues and are not focussing on the safety issue in our area. After this incident, especially the women in our area are not feeling safe. Some girls, who return from their coaching classes late in the evening, are also scared.

Measures should be taken to make this area safe. The park gates should be locked from both sides. Surveillance in our area should be strengthened. Security guards should be deployed in the park for late evenings.  Many a times, I have seen groups of men smoking up or getting drunk there.

I believe avoiding the park is not a solution — as it has multifarious uses. Residents take this route as it serves as a shortcut. We also go for evening walks in the park. Instead of asking people to avoid going to the park, the services of security guards should be used to get rid of miscreants.

Declaring the park a ‘dark zone’ will make situations worse as this will scare locals more. And if we easily give up on these, then the criminals will dare to break into our house someday. It feels like I am living in some insurgency zone. I do not feel safe in my own house.

B R Yadav, 52, works at BSES

As told to Shruti Das

‘Avoid park, after dark’

The park is a problematic area. We have written to the police, stating that they should have a patrol in the park. They have a limitation of manpower — but they need to provide security as it is visited by a lot of people from in and around Dwarka.

It is being misused by many people for various unlawful activities. During the day, there’s not much problem. But as darkness sets in, it becomes really unsafe. In the past too, we have written to the police about this issue and requested police patrolling in our area – even if it is for a few hours.

Now we have asked people not to use the park, until some steps are taken. It’s a DDA park, but I don’t think they are aware of these activities. And incidents of mugging are quite common. For now, I have asked locals not to use the park after dark and have written to the police to start patrolling.

Bandan Kumar Singh is the RWA of Green View Apartments, Dwarka Sector -19
As told to Shruti Das

Breaking in daylight

I live in an apartment on the fifth floor at Mayur Vihar Phase 3. I share the flat with two of my friends and we normally don’t lock the door. Recently, I had a day off and was alone in my room.

After the maid left, I did lock the door that day. I was working in my room when I heard someone trying to unlock the door. Initially, I thought it was one of my roommates. Each of us have a key — so they can unlock the doorn from outside. But then I felt that someone was pulling the door knob and I realised had it been any of them, they would have called me by now or rang the bell.

I got really scared and had no idea what to do. Moments later, I saw someone peeping from the window just next to the door. Then that person even tried to open the window but could not. I started screaming for help.

I went to the balcony and called the caretaker. Fortunately, the man who was trying to break in was caught by him. Then I came out and got to know that the man was a drug addict. We called the police and got him arrested. They informed me that many complaints had been lodged against that man earlier too. In fact, I was also told that he was in jail a day before this incident and was released that day itself.

The man tried to defend himself by saying that he was there to supply water in our flat. But he was not carrying anything of that sort. He was properly dressed and had a phone, but he was drunk.

In our locality, it is a common issue. A gang of men target the flats on the topmost floor — and that too during the daytime, when people are at work. They try to steal whatever valuables they can get hold of. They go from one roof to the other — that is how they escape.

Even though our society is not exactly a gated one, but we do have gates and guards in our block.  The scariest part is that these incidents are happening in broad daylight. At that time, the guards are not very cautious. And in five to six flats in our block, incidents of robbery have taken place. Thus, there is a security lapse which needs to be fixed immediately.

Sneha Singh works as a teacher

As told to Shruti Das  n