In a unique initiative to create more awareness about thefts related to mobile phones, cops in the North Campus of Delhi University are ‘stealing’ students’ phones to teach them a lesson.
A student is speaking on the phone when a well-dressed woman in her 20s drives up in a Brio. She says she has an emergency and the battery of her phone is dead. In fluent English, she asks the student to let her use his/her phone. As soon as the helpful student hands over the phone, the woman speeds away in her car. This has been the pattern of events in several cases in DU’s North Campus lately and the criminals (sometimes the woman was accompanied with a male accomplice) are still at large despite four teams of police looking for them.
Last Thursday, on October 13, the Maurice Nagar police organised an awareness drive to alert students to mobile phone thefts on the campus.
But the warnings were delivered in a slightly different way. Two cops, dressed in plain clothes, imitated the tactics of the thieves and drove off with the students’ phones to teach them to be more careful!
Head constable Virender Singh and sub-inspector Gurdeep Kaur, both in plain clothes, sat in a parked car near the Vishwavidyalaya Metro station. They asked two student passers-by for their phones to make emergency calls. One of the students handed over her phone and the cops sped off. The young girl looked around for help and head constable Naresh Kumar from the Maurice Nagar Police Station came to her rescue. He chased down the car on his motorcycle and caught up with the plain clothes cops. When Virender and Gurdeep stepped out of the car, Divya Kumari, the student from whom they had stolen the phone, demanded to know why they had done so.
“I am from the Maurice Nagar Police Station and this is part of the awareness drive we are conducting. You have to be more careful while helping someone. Aapne socha nahi ki hum car mein baithe hain, aur humare paas charger nahin hai? Maine aapko bola mere phone ki battery khatam ho gayi hai, toh aapne mujhe phone dikhane ko bhi nahi kaha (Didn’t you think we should have a charger since we were sitting in a car? I told you my battery was dead and you did not even ask to see my phone to check if the battery was really dead,” explained Gurdeep to Divya, as reported by The Times of India.
Aside from “stealing” the phones from students to teach them the importance of being watchful, Aarti Sharma, SHO, Maurice Nagar, and sub-inspector Ram Chandra also spoke to students travelling in rickshaws. Many of them hold their phones in their hands or are oblivious to the world, with earphones plugged into their ears, while travelling.
Aarti told them: “You should be more careful with your belongings whenever you are walking on the road or sitting in a rickshaw. You should keep your phone in the bag and hold the bag tightly so that nobody can snatch it.”