The Telegraph
Sunday , March 18 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lights on to scare thieves

- Cop’s bright idea spells gloom for ‘budget-hit’ residents

Patna, March 17: Police have rubbed salt on the wounds of “budget-hit” city residents.

Even as people are busy assessing the possibility of a vacation post the general budget “blow”, senior Patna cops have offered an “expensive” security solution for those brave enough to go ahead with their excursion plan. In a talk with The Telegraph, Patna senior superintendent of police Alok Kumar said the residents should ensure that at least two lights of their home, one on the front and the other on the back, are switched on whenever the occupants leave for a vacation or outing.

“In residential areas, the police have started a ‘neighbourhood watch’ programme. But unfortunately, the move has not clicked with the residents and the response has been not up to the mark. The residents should ensure that at least two lights, one at the front of the house and the other in the rear portion, are left switched on whenever they leave home for a vacation. This will ward off thieves and help police keep a watch,” Alok said.

“Generally, robbers don’t target houses which are well-lit. Moreover, the police have already been asked to hold weekly meetings with residents of different localities. Cops have been asked to encourage people to endorse the neighbourhood watch initiative. The move will put things in order,” the senior officer added.

Residents, however, are not ready to buy the SSP’s argument.

“We have already been hit by increase in prices of commodities. How can the police just ask us to leave the lights on whenever we leave? This would lead to higher electricity bill and disturb out monthly budget plan,” said Mohammed Jamshed, a businessman based in the Alamganj area of Patna City.

Jamshed did not agree with the neighbourhood watch initiative too. He said: “In Gandhi Nagar theft case, the house owner had duly informed his neighbours about his vacation but no one cared to check. How can a neighbour ensure that my house is safe? People have their personal lives. No one will take the responsibility of someone else’s house and check the premises all the time. Why cannot the police be strict in patrolling? It is their job and they must concentrate on it more rather than giving ideas to people. The Patna City area witnesses a lot of thefts. We don’t see any police patrol during the night.”

The neighbourhood watch programme was introduced by the Patna police on January 10. Under the programme, cops have asked the residents to intimate at least two neighbours about their trip so that the latter could keep a watch on their homes in their absence. Residents have also been asked to inform the quick mobile team in their area about their trip. The mobile teams would keep a check on the particular residence more than once every day.

“Neighbourhood watch is a good concept but somehow it has not been able to generate that interest among the residents,” the officer said.