Mobile theft menace: An organized crime in Mumbai Local

Mobile theft menace: An organized crime in Mumbai Local

Yesterday while I was traveling from Malad to Andheri, my phone was picked by a pickpocket. Yes, your first reaction would be that I should have been more careful. But in my defense, I am quite attentive all the time. I know the ritual of keeping a tab of your wallet and phone when you are at a crowded place. I had already put my wallet in my bag.In my 25 springs I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and this was the first time that something of this sort did happen to me. Trust me; this could happen with any one of us.

The local from Malad to Andheri scheduled at 7;06 PM was late and this led to overcrowding at station. I had my crowd mode on and was tracking my valuables all the time. Then came the train. Swarm of humanity got down and another one rushed to get in. I was one of those trying to find my place in already crowded Mumbai local. It was all commotion at the station and amidst these I could feel something around the front pocket. The mobile was in the front pocket of the jeans which is ‘safer’. I got my hands down only to find my phone gone already.

I raised an alarm. I tried calling but the phone had already been switched off. I immediately got down and reported the incident to a constable at police post in Malad. He wrote down my name and address and allotted me a serial number 13. 13 is an unlucky number. Hotels don’t have any room by the number 13. But my bad luck had the better of this myth. It happened before ‘unlucky 13’came to my life.

I was intrigued by this number 13 for a lot of other reasons. This number meant that 13 people had reported the loss of mobile in that day at Malad station. And for every reported case, there would be lot others which go unreported. It is very likely that I was the 13th person to report the loss of mobile to that constable in the day. But let’s not be very pessimistic and assume that this was the 13th incident of the day. Malad is one of the less populous stations of Mumbai local. Even if we assume that every local station reports 10 mobile theft/loss every day, the total comes down to 1200 mobiles every day at 120 stations.

And till now we have only accounted for the theft of mobile phones, there are lot of wallets, necklaces and other valuables being stolen every day. But I would like to stick to mobile phones for two reasons-
One and very obvious, I have lost my phone and this is my final tribute to it. I feel sorry for my phone because it would soon have a dishonest owner who would not respect/love it as much as I do.
Second, each phone comes with a unique IMEI number (IMEI Numbers for my dual sim phone 352649074836725, 352649074836733 ) and if a strong surveillance system is put in place, every stolen phone can be tracked the moment they are turned on.

Coming back to my unlucky number 13, Police constable told be that entire area came under Borivali Railways Police station and hence I should travel to Borivali PS with my original bill and lodge a complaint. I was told that I could do that anytime in the week. But I Know, even if I was told to run 50kms to get my phone, I would have done that without a second thought. I ran all over the place to locate a cybercafe. I had purchased my phone through Flipkart. Hence, I did not have much difficulty getting the invoice. I got the invoice. I then ran to Borivali Police station. It was some10 kms run and most of it was on a train. I was literally running up and down in the train.

The moment I entered the Police station, I was greeted by a lady constable. Alongside her were two young people who were noting down something. I could recognize that one of them had a Flipkart invoice with him. I soon realized that they too had lost their phone while boarding a train probably at Borivali. There were two differences in their case and mine-
Firstly, while I lost my phone at Malad, this young chap became unlucky at Borivali.
And secondly, because they lost it at Borivali, they did not have to run all the way for Police Station. It was just there for them to lodge a complaint.

At the Police Station, I was given an FIR to copy the format for my complaint. As an engineer, copying is my forte. From that FIR, I realized that this third gentleman had lost his phone Samsung Galaxy Grand at Borivali just few hours before me and too while boarding an overcrowded train And did I mention that my sister lost her phone Moto G (2nd generation) earlier this year in Mumbai.

What I am getting at is that mobile theft is an organized crime at Mumbai local. They might all be connected to one network. Police should leverage the fact that phones could be tracked unlike any other valuable items. Every stolen phone could be located if this crime is considered at par with any other crime where mobile phone tracking leads to all the big discoveries. The idea is not only to get the stolen phones back but also to give a clear message that all the pickpockets could be nabbed down and punished. Let’s make the Mumbai local ride stress free and joyous.

PS: I don’t know how it turns out and how proactive Mumbai police would be, but their treatment so far has been very friendly and accommodating. They registered a complaint instantly (MAR No- 45|9|15)

PPS: Just as I am writing this while traveling in Mumbai local, I hear the ringtone, the Asus Zenfone 2 ringtone. I instantly reach out to my pocket only to realize that the Asus melody had long deserted my life.

PPPS: I don’t know what counts to be an expensive phone but that phone did cost me a fortune. And more than the money, I would miss the beautiful memories and useful data that it contained.

My advice to all
1. Your phone is not safe at all. Better don’t take it out of your homes tongue emoticon
2. Keep calm and back up your data. You never know when you might need it.

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