Police in Vadodara, a city in the Indian state of Gujarat, have started a community policing project in partnership with local street vendors, the Times of India reports.
"Hawkers are good source of information and they can also help us in detecting crime and preventing it too. In fact, just few days back a hawker nabbed a vehicle thief and handed him over to the police," police commissioner Rakesh Asthaana told the paper.
Officials in the city of 3 million have dubbed the plan 'Hawk Eye.' It has the potential to create a much more productive civic relationship between government and street merchants. Vendors are, after all, eyes and ears on the street. They are not criminals. They are a legitimate part of society.