Incidents of mugging and snatching have risen in the city, but few cases are being reported to the police. On their part, law enforcers appear to ignore such crimes and few perpetrators are ever brought to justice.
Muggers have become so daring that they even attack their victims with knives, guns or chemicals if they face any resistance.
At least 60 people have been wounded by muggers over the past 20 days for resisting.
Last Thursday, Shapan, a bus driver, was going home after a late shift. When he reached Demra around 2 am, a group of muggers stopped him at knife-point and stabbed him in the stomach after taking Tk13,000 and two mobile phones from him.
According to Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) records, on average, one snatching incident takes place every day. However, according to hospital and newspaper reports, more than 150 muggings, which left 60 people injured, took place in the city in June alone.
Asaduzzaman Asad, an advocate of Dhaka Judge’s Court, told the Dhaka Tribune that the number of cases filed with the police does not reflect the real picture.
“The actual figure is much higher. The victims do not file cases because they do not want to face the hassle of lengthy police and legal procedures,” Asad said.
Sources claimed that when a victim goes to a station to file a case, the police at first refuse to record it. After several requests and cajoling, they record a general diary (GD).
“If we find intent and motive after investigating an incident on the basis of a GD, we file a case then,” Abdul Jalil Mondol, DMP additional commissioner (crime and operation), said.
Muggers normally target people in deserted spots in the city. During the last caretaker government, the DMP published a list of 444 “snatching” spots.
The top ten most dangerous locations - where two or three incidents take place daily – are as follows: National Parliament to Agargaon, Mirpur Zoo road, Jatrabari to Chittagong highway, Sayedabad bus terminal, the area around Dhaka University campus, Khilkhet to Airport road, Gulshan area, Tejgaon to Moghbazar, Bongshal and Dholaipar areas of old Dhaka.
About the “snatching” prone areas, Mondol said the DMP is about to update the list, and police are patrolling day and night to protect the city-dwellers.
Muggings occur even in the city’s protected areas. According to news reports, muggers killed three people and injured 28 others in the past four months near the PM’s office, which is a high security zone.
Shamim Hossain, officer-in-charge of nearby Khilkhet police station, said: “We arrested some snatchers from the area after conducting a raid, but they were released on bail and committed crimes again.”
The sources also said muggers mostly use unregistered vehicles, especially motorbikes, to move around the city, but police reportedly do not take any action against them in return for bribes.
Masudur Rahman, DMP deputy commissioner, said an operation is underway to seize unregistered vehicles.