24 May 2018: People stealing blankets, ceiling-fans, showers, even train tracks from Railways!
Indians have this annoying tendency to nick stuff from public places. Last year, some journalists embarrassed the country by stealing silverware from a London hotel during an official trip!
Another hunting ground for such thieves is the Railways. Apparently, not just blankets and mugs, people often steal showers from washrooms and window grills from trains too!
But sometimes, such thefts put lives at risk.
Details: You name it, they have stolen it
In 2017-18, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) recovered stolen goods worth Rs. 2.97cr. The year before that, the value of recovered items was half of it, at Rs. 1.58cr.
The haul included toilet mugs, bed linen, blankets, the usual. But RPF also recovered ceiling fans, showers and iron grills.
5,239 cases of theft were registered, up from 5,219 in 2016-17.
Risk: But how are human lives at risk?
Things turn serious when thieves steal items like parts of tracks, fish plates, overhead cables and the like, which can cause accidents too.
"As these materials are spread over an expanse of almost 100,000km, they fall easy prey to thieves," an officer said.
"We conduct drives to catch the offenders because there are times when their deeds have even led to disruptions in train operations," a spokesperson said.
Demographics: Common characteristics of thieves and targets
Commonly targeted items have been divided into categories - engineering (tracks, fish plates), signaling and telecommunication (overhead cables, solar plates, relay, telephones), mechanical (wash basins, mirrors, taps) and electrical (batteries, electric coach fans, switches).
Engineering items are the most frequent target.
"Theft of mugs and other iron material is common by drug addicts who later sell them," an officer said.
Security: RPF personnel in Western Division get advanced body cameras
Gearing up against such activities, the Western Division announced earlier this month that it is boosting security on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and other trains.
Apart from CCTVs, it is equipping RPF personnel with body cameras for real-time monitoring.
Till mid-May, officials had installed CCTV cameras in five coaches of the Rajdhani.
RPF personnel would carry the advanced body cameras till all coaches get CCTVs.