Mumbai: In the 1980s, Mumbai police grappled with challenges underworld as outlaws operated with brazen audacity. Gradually, the force made great strides in eliminating the gang wars, which often spilled into the city streets. However, the digital era has upended the law and order landscape. Cyber frauds, crimes linked to artificial intelligence (AI) and the persistent drug menace are the vexed issues of the present.
3,883 online fraud cases reported in city
Last year, the city reported 3,883 online fraud cases till November. However, the police managed to detect just 707 cases resulting in 936 arrests. Notably, part-time job scams, credit card fraud and sextortion emerged as major crimes. Specifically, 395 job fraud cases were reported in the said period. However, just 61 of them could be cracked leading to 118 arrests. Similarly,120 out of 1,089 credit card fraud could be solved while 184 people were nabbed. Whereas 49 sextortion cases were registered, but only 12 were detected, resulting in 24 arrests.
Reluctance of victims to report the problem
The reluctance of victims to report the problem further adds to the nagging problem and in a way boosts confidence of the new-age criminals. Many people, especially senior citizens, hesitate to approach the police fearing defamation. The threat of losing reputation in an instant could be understood with the use of deepfakes, which almost blurs the lines between real and fake. Adding insult to the injury, such hyper-realistic fake videos have immense potential to spread misinformation and whip up public sentiment. Hence, upping skills is the need of the hour for law agencies.
The lingering drug menace, which has now found digital ways to dodge authorities, continues to be a headache for the police. Mumbai's strategic location and bustling ports make it susceptible to drug trafficking networks. Last year, significant operations led to the dismantling of two major drug rackets, with alleged political tentacles. Overall, Mumbai saw the registration of 10,322 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, leading to 10,754 arrests.
A high-ranking cop said, “Last year, Mumbai police dismantled major drug rackets and busted Nigerian networks. On the other front, they also identified significant online fraud cases. Also, strong action on street drug peddlers led to a major blow to the local smuggling network.” Another officer from the cyber department said, “Mumbai police are always ready to face new challenges. Various training sessions are ongoing within the department. I also appeal to the citizens not to entertain calls or messages from unknown numbers. Always verify every unknown number from which you receive calls or messages.”
Total cases of online job frauds: 395
Total cases of credit card frauds: 1,089
Other cyber frauds: 3,883
Crimes related to drugs: 10,322
Total possession cases: 1,313
Total amount involved (drug cases) : ₹4,198,410,519