The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for the security at Delhi Metro stations, says that such women gangs are responsible for over 90% of the incidents of pickpocketing in the Delhi metro. In 2017 so far, the CISF has caught 373 pickpockets of which 329 were women. The CISF has also identified Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk, Shahdara, HUDA City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi and Tughlakabad stations as the ones prone to pickpocketing.
Regular complaints have prompted the CISF to form an anti-theft squad at every line. The job of these squads is to identify pickpockets and keep an eye on them. “As per the law, we cannot stop anyone from entering into metro premises. But we are aware of the groups that come to metro only for pickpocketing. Now, our staff start follow them as soon as they enter the metro premises and keep a watch so that they do not commit any offence,” a CISF official said.
In 2016, at least, 41 male and 438 female suspected pickpockets were caught by the CISF. “Women pickpockets have been dominating the Delhi Metro premises. It has been found that they camouflage their intentions by deploying a clever modus operandi of accompanying a child or carrying a toddler. In most cases it was found that the women who were apprehended after the act of stealing were the least suspected,” a senior official said. The rise in numbers of women pickpockets in Delhi Metro has been a challenge for security agencies for several years. The CISF deploys its women personnel in plain clothes to keep a check, but the lack of complaints against the suspects has lead to a steady increase in such incidents over the years.