Crime fails to elude touristic Colva

Situated about six kilometers from Margao city, the commercial capital of Goa, is the village of Colva – the pride of Salcete also known as Sasti. Tourists from all over the world as well as other states of India flock to its shores in large numbers, as Colva is a popular tourist destination.

Besides Colva, Salcete is blessed with other coastal beaches in the villages of Benaulim, Varca, Seraulim, Betalbhatim, Majorda, Orlim, Cavolissim and others, which also sees a lot of tourists visiting, some on a yearly basis. The area of nine village panchayats, many of them having beaches, come under the jurisdiction of the Colva police station.
Over the years, many of the these villages under the Colva police station, have witnessed rapid changes – both in appearance and population – as more and more infrastructure to cater to tourists has been built and the tourist scenario has also attracted a lot of migrants to the area. With the changes that have been witnessed, unfortunately, have given rise to crime which is gradually growing, including the flesh trade, murder, and others. The areas have also seen incidences of chain and purse snatching and robberies and thefts. The sad part of this is that most of the cases of robbery, of which the victims are foreigners as well as national and local tourists, have gone unsolved.
Since January to September 2012, under robbery, thefts, auto thefts and other thefts in the jurisdiction of Colva police station, the police have registered 29 cases. Of these, seven have been solved and the rest are under investigation.
The Colva police station, in all, till September this year, have registered 85 cases under the Indian Penal Code, and have managed to solve 47. But solution to many theft cases have eluded the police. Though the percentage of solving cases stands at 55.29 per cent, the figure indicating detection of thefts is not that convincing.
Data available with the police indicates that the Colva police have detected cases of rape, mischief, hurts, assault on government servants and murders. However, a large number of house break-ins, robbery, auto theft and thefts, have remained undetected. Data shows that 4 murders were committed this year till September, of which 2 were solved. There were 13 night time thefts reported, of which only 3 were solved, while 3 house break-ins and thefts were reported and all three remain unsolved. 5 houses were robbed and two were detected, while there were complaints of three auto thefts and only one vehicle from these has been recovered.
Data also indicates that though the Colva police registered 29 cases, only 7 of these were detected, with the detection percentage being just 24.13 per cent.
However, Colva police detected cases of rape, cheating, rioting, hurts, assault on public servant and others. Also out of 9 cases of hurt 8 were detected. However, the police failed to solve the two cases of criminal breach of trust. Of the 4 cases of cheating registered, 2 were solved and out of 2 cases of misappropriation, both remain unsolved.
In 2011, during the corresponding period of January to September, 58 cases were registered by Colva police and 30 were detected. The percentage of detection being 51.72 per cent.
Crimes against women on the coastal belt on South Goan beaches, over the last few years, have cast a shadow on the popularity of these beaches as a tourist destination. Though several incidents of crime have been reported, the police probes into these incidents are not encouraging.  
One senior police officer when asked about these cases said that cases were being investigated and efforts were being made to solve them. He said that cases of chain and purse snatching were reported and offences have been registered and that the probe is on. Police sources said that as the tourist season is ongoing, more police personnel will be deployed at sites frequented by tourists and all measures concerning public security will be taken for prevention of crime.
He emphasised on increased visibility of police during the season, especially during the night when tourists and locals stay on the beaches. It was said that special scheme for police station on the coastal belt of South Goa will be prepared and steps will be taken to avoid crime.
However, the public is not impressed by the promises of the police. Although the police say that personnel will be increased, the public point out that though the season has already begun, the police presence is yet to be seen on the beaches and at places of tourist interest. With the rate of detection of crimes being so poor, this does not encourage much confidence in the words of the police. [NT]