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Misguided drives

Special drives against stolen vehicles have failed to check rising incidents of crime, saysDevesh K. Pandey.

The Delhi police have lately shown a keen interest in curbing violations of motor vehicle rules on the Capital's roads, and rightly so. Those in the law and order business feel that the "mobility factor" plays a significant role in the commissioning of any crime. The minimum a culprit requires is a mode of transport to flee the scene of crime. From this it can be safely deduced that by having an effective control on the city roads, the police can contain most incidents of crime.

Studies have already established that stolen vehicles, those with defective or fake number plates or tinted glasses, are usually used in committing crimes like robbery and kidnapping. After the police discovered the link, there have been drives, from time to time, against such vehicles.

Later on, the police also launched special drives against unauthorised use of beacons as some criminal elements were found using them.

Though the basic idea behind these drives must have been to approach the problem in its totality, unfortunately the police remained confined to challaning vehicles for just traffic and motor vehicle rule violations. Of course, the special drives proved effective to some extent, but in the long run they have become yet another way for the police to raise revenue.

While the situation continues to be the same, one of the main reasons behind the ineffectiveness of these special drives, according to some people, is that the challan amounts are too small to hurt the pockets of the motorists and bring about a change in their attitude. The other side of the story is that even criminal elements manage to escape detection by just paying off the challan amounts, only because the police tend to limit themselves to that particular exercise and focus more on increasing the number of prosecutions.

Had the police been more serious about achieving the larger goal of curbing crime, they would have opted for a continuous drive against on-the-road violations by authorising even the patrolling teams to prosecute those flouting the rules.

The police could also employ the traditional policing method of round-the-clock picketing at all the sensitive pockets. If that were the case, those who abducted a Swiss national from Siri Fort Auditorium two years ago and criminally assaulted her in a vehicle that kept moving around for over an hour, would not have escaped easily.

To bring about a dramatic change in the crime scenario, the police will have to think beyond immediate targets and study crime in the backdrop of all the factors involved.

In this regard, analysing the data generated during the drives against on-the-road violations would be a great help in identifying people with a criminal bent of mind.

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