Five burglaries in five days have prompted Bidhannagar police to promise that they will intensify their vigil, especially at the entry and exit points.
Residents blame lax policing for the rise in thefts. They claim there's hardly any patrolling at night, which makes it easy for robbers to make their getaways.
Metro hit the roads in Salt Lake late on Sunday to check the security measures in place in blocks where the burglaries had taken place.
Bypass connector, near BL Block
A midnight visit to the bridge that leads to the connector from the block where two houses had been burgled and another was attempted at showed a few guardrails had been set up to slow down vehicles.
Two civic police volunteers on the Salt Lake side of the bridge did not stop any vehicle. "We have not been asked to carry out any checks," one of them said. "How can only two people manage a outpost?"
The sluice gate footbridge in the Bidhannagar East police station area that connects Salt Lake with Nayapatty did not have any policemen around 12.30am. Several thefts have been reported from the adjacent AL block.
"We rarely see a police vehicle," Jhuma Banik of nearby BL block said. "Since this block borders the eastern drainage canal, robbers easily cross over to Nayapatty or flee to New Town."
There was no check on the footbridge connecting Sukantanagar to Salt Lake in LB block, near the Jadavpur University second campus, and on a narrow walkway opposite Nicco Park around 1.30am.
There were cops on the Baishaki footbridge and on No. 4 footbridge around 1am, but they let everyone pass without asking any questions.
Sports Authority of India and Hyatt
Vehicles on the Bypass use both these points to enter the township. There were two civic volunteers and a constable near SAI. Srabani Abasan in FC, a 10 minutes' drive from the Hyatt entry point, where a former MP's house has been burgled, was unmanned.
There are two police kiosks bang opposite City Centre. But at 12.36am both were empty. Taxis were parked on one flank of the road that leads to Mayukh Bhavan.
"Although policemen are supposed to be posted in this area, I don't know why they are not here today," Chandan Yadav, a cabbie, said.
A police kiosk opposite Bhikharam was deserted, too.
The area wore a deserted look around 2.10am. Bidhannagar East police station, housed in the Karunamoyee Municipal Market inside the housing complex, is a 5 minutes walk from the roundabout. Soham Chakraborty, a fashion designer, said: "There is almost zero patrolling at any time of the day. The nights are worse."
Inside BK, HB, BF, CF and AE blocks
Metro did not spot a single policeman or police vehicle on the roads in these blocks between 1.20am and 2am.
"In the past, we used to see some police vehicles... but nowadays sighting one is a rarity," Bikash Majhi, a watchman in the BK block, said.
The picture was no different in front of Downtown Mall. After the last show ended at 1.10am, moviegoers hopped in their cars and left. But there was not a single police vehicle in sight.
"I rarely see police vehicles patrolling the area anymore," a guard at the mall said. "Till a few years back a jeep would regularly make the rounds, especially when the night show got over."
Souvik Gupta Bhaya, an engineer who returned to his AE block home after a late dinner, said he often reached home late at night. "I rarely see any policemen inside our block."
Senior Bidhannagar City Police officers on Monday said patrolling would be increased and techniques "modified".
"We will intensify patrolling and post police pickets at all junctions," Debashis Dhar, the additional deputy commissioner of the Bidhannagar commissionerate, said.
"Moreover, we will request block committees to install CCTV cameras inside the blocks. Policemen are posted at all major exit and entry points of Salt Lake."
Dhar, however, chose not to say anything when he was told about Metro 's findings.
Another officer said the police had "forgotten ground-level policing". "It seems they are not doing their duty properly," he said.
Narayan Basu, the president of Salt Lake Welfare Association, asked: "What is the use of a commissionerate if there is a spike in thefts?"