No revelry in name of safety

No revelry in name of safety

Ineffective Restriction

Bangalore’s 11.30 pm deadline may be notorious for dampening the City’s party spirit, but the fact remains that it was put into place for a reason – safety. So while youngsters may complain bitterly when pubs and restaurants abruptly shut shop a mere half-an-hour before midnight, they are forced to stomach the regulation because they’re told it’s for their own good.

On the other hand, instances of rape and robbery are clearly on the rise in the City — so much so, that the National Crime Records Bureau was prompted to give Bangalore the rather dubious title of ‘Crime Capital of the South’ in 2010. It’s odd that the City with the earliest curfew should be so named. In fact, it leads one to question whether there is actually a time for crime. Metrolife speaks to a few Bangaloreans to find out whether they think the City’s deadline is effective in maintaining safety on the streets.

A common view is that the time issue isn’t all that important when it comes to curbing crime. Aqseer, a law student, points out that this isn’t just a case of wrong targetting; it’s also a clear example of displaced responsibility. “The entire approach is flawed, and it’s evident that time restrictions don’t work in this sense. This just means that the police is shrugging off all responsibility, and admitting that they can’t handle the situation,” she says.

Describing the regulation as a violation of personal space, she adds, “Why can’t the police force increase the number of men on the roads? We’re paying our taxes for this, so we have the right to expect safety on the roads no matter what the time is.”

Others believe that imposing such constraints make sense in certain situations — but not on a day-to-day basis. “Curfews are required in very extreme situations, when things go out of control. But here, people are being herded back home everyday,” says Vismita, a student of Mount Carmel College, adding, “I think such measures tend to induce fear in people — but this shouldn’t be the case, because it’s the police force’s job to ensure streets are safe at night, isn’t it?”

She believes that the crime rate of the City could be kept under control if there was more police presence on the roads at night. “The population of Bangalore is increasing, and with this, the police force should too. They should allocate their manpower better, and station more people on the roads. People need police protection at night,” she explains.

Anisha, a professional, points out that sometimes people don’t have a choice — they have to step out at night. “Bangalore is an IT hub, and there are plenty of call-centre workers and professionals who are on the road at night. Given that this is compulsory for them, it would be much better if there were more police officials manning the streets past a certain time,” she concludes.