“My son was sitting next to me. When we reached the Agargaon intersection on Mirpur Road a private car came out of nowhere and blocked our path,” Runu Akhter continued.
“Before I could realise what was going on, someone came out of the car and snatched away my purse and fled the scene in his vehicle in no time,” she said, mentioning that her purse contained Tk60,000 cash, six passports of her family members, mobile phone and other valuables.
“When I went to Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station to file a complaint, cops asked me to file a General Diary (GD) instead of filing a snatching case,” Runu Akhter said, adding that it has been a week since filing the GD but she has not heard back anything from the police.
A similar snatching incident happened to Mohiuddin Samrat, a Jahangirnagar University student. He was mugged by miscreants riding a white car in front of the National Eye Institute on Shisumela-Agargaon road.
Mohammadpur has also become a hotspot for snatching and mugging crimes.
Visiting the Mohammadpur Police Station recently, TBS found at least four-five persons come to report their mugging encounters in Beribadh and Dhaka Udyan areas.
A private university student who came to the police station to file a case told TBS that the Dhaka Udyan Road is more prone to snatching.
When asked why mugging incidents are rising, Mrityunjoy Dey Sajal, additional deputy commissioner of DMP’s Tejgaon Division (Mohammadpur zone), blamed people, mostly from poverty-stricken and lower-income families, who are not locals but are constantly floating from places to places.
There are too many people moving in and out of the Mohammadpur, Beribadh and Bachila areas every day for work or other purposes. Many of them engage in criminal activities. That is one of the main reasons for rampant mugging in these areas and it is hard to keep track of these people, the police official said.
The Rapid Action Battalion on 28 January arrested eight members of an Adabar-based gang called “Brave Danger Strong King” for their involvement in robbery, theft, extortion and other crimes across the capital.
What is interesting is that the then DMP’s Assistant Commissioner (Mohammadpur zone) Mujib Patwary had been recognised as the best assistant commissioner of last year for nine consecutive months (January-September) for his courageous effort in curbing crime in Mohammadpur zone—comprising Mohammadpur and Adabor police stations.
But the reality of rising crimes paints a different picture. When contacted about this, Mujib Patwary refused to make any comment.
Besides, Mohammadpur and Agargaon, Tejgaon bus stand, Karwanbazar and Asad Avenue also became hotspots for snatching, according to the DMP Crime Division.
Most murders last year took place in Wari
Around 173 people were murdered in the Dhaka metropolitan area in 2022 and the highest number of murders (36) took place just in the Wari crime division.
When asked why is that the case, Deputy Commissioner of Wari Division Ziaul Haque Talukder told TBS gave a similar answer to the one of Mrityunjoy Dey Sajal, additional deputy commissioner of DMP’s Tejgaon Division (Mohammadpur zone).
“Many poor, unemployed and drug addict youths living in Kadamtali and Shyampur areas of Wari are involved in robbing and other petty crimes. Some of them have been involved in murder too,” he said.
Dr Md Omar Faruk, a professor of Criminology and the Police Science Department of Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University, told TBS that analysing data and case records can help prevent mugging easily.
“Police can be more vigilant at night time in patrolling the streets to reduce snatching incidents,” he said.
“Police cannot just avoid liability by blaming a group of people. If the Police want, they monitor the people moving in and out of an area. It is their duty to do so and contain crime as much as possible,” the criminology professor added.