Unlucky, Oye?

Thief In Hooded Jacket And Balaclava Opening Car's Door With Crowbar

Car theft is rampant in some parts of Delhi, even if police stations are a stone’s throw away. So if you are unlucky enough to find your car missing, don’t expect it to be ever found or the auto thieves to be caught

If you ever happen to travel to Prashant Vihar, Rohini, keep your cars padlocked if possible and your keys close to your heart. Chances are, your car will disappear, perhaps for good.

The Prashant Vihar police station in Rohini, has charted the highest number of FIRs filed from January to August in 2018. A staggering 714 vehicles were reported stolen at this police station, with three to four FIRs daily. The next in line would be Shakarpur (East) with 554 reports, which is still a far cry less than the numbers from Prashant Vihar.

Delhi has over 1.5 crore registered vehicles, of which 31,72,842 are cars. This brings the number to approximately 550 cars for every thousand people. Which is more than one car between every two people.
Motor vehicle theft presents itself as quite a worrying phenomenon in the city — especially considering that as of 2017, almost more than 41,000 cars were reported stolen.

In 2018, the numbers continue to be worrisome, especially in the cases of a few select localities. Last year, the tally of stolen motor vehicles stood at 28,425 till August, which is marginally higher than the numbers reported for the same time span in 2017 (27,780). According to police reports and the FIRs filed, the cars are getting stolen from a multitude of spaces. They are being stolen from outside restaurants and mandirs, parks, malls and hospitals alike.

East Delhi saw the highest number of MV thefts – a total of 3,208 FIRs were filed for stolen vehicles at all the police stations in the east collectively, Shakarpur East leading the list with 554 reported cases.
Mohammad Anab, 22 years old, a resident of Jia Sarai in Hauz Khas recalls the story of when his father’s car was stolen while it was in his care. A second-hand Santro bought by his father in 2007 was passed on to him in 2014, when his father moved to Dehradun for work. Anab was to learn how to drive in this very car. “One night,” he recollects, “I parked the car outside at around 11 pm and went home.” The parking area was on the main road, bang opposite a police barricade.

“At around 3 am I was feeling really hungry so I figured that I would drive myself to get some food, but the car was not there anymore. And even the police who were posted there didn’t seem to have any inkling of what had transpired just 70-80 metres away from them.” The car had obviously been stolen at some point between 11 pm and 3 am, he concluded.

At first he was scared of how his father would react. “My father is not someone to let something like this go,” he admits. Moreover, the car was an old one and had its fair share of scratches and dents — and he knew that his father was planning to sell it. This story however, does have a somewhat comical ending. “Had I found the car, we would have gotten maybe for Rs 40,000-50,000 for it. But since we didn’t and the car was insured, we ended up getting Rs 1.35 lakh rupees. And my father wasn’t so angry after all,” he says with a chuckle. The only thing he said to Anab was ‘Theek hai, hota hai,’ (It’s okay, it happens sometimes). “I’m actually thankful that we did not end up finding it.

As of August 2018, there were 124 MV thefts for which FIRs had been registered at the Hauz Khas police station. And one can only imagine that all the complainants were not as lucky as Anab had been with this car. Vehicles were stolen from AIIMS, the Green Park Metro station, as well as from homes and building parking lots. Which begs the question about how tight the security is, or rather a lack thereof. Is it really that easy to steal a vehicle?

In September last year, the Delhi Government’s Health Department was toying with the idea on installing WoVM (Whole of Vehicle Marking) technology in cars, to prevent motor theft. Many countries like Australia, Canada, Taiwan and in the EU have already adopted this technology in their vehicles. This involves the installing of a microdot with a unique ID in the vehicles so that they can be tracked and located more efficiently. However, this initiative is still to see the light of day in our cars in India.

The airport and Metro police have seen fewer vehicle thefts while the other regions of Delhi have numbers hitting thousands. If in just a matter of eight months, the city has been subjected to such a huge magnitude of thefts, one can only imagine the figures in 12 months. With no signs of improvement, one wonders: Is there a way to curb this particular crime? And if so, is it not high time such measures were implemented?

Motor vehicle thefts (January-August 2018)

Central Delhi : 1163
Dwarka : 1230
East : 3208
IGI Airport : 3
Metro : 12
New Delhi : 157
North : 1369
North east : 2838
North west : 3132
Outer district : 2804
Railways : 12
Rohini : 2574
Shahdara : 1543
South : 2102
South west : 1330
South east : 2464
West : 2484

Source: Delhi Police

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