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A large number of auto-lifting gangs are suspected to be active in the Capital these days, posing a huge challenge to the already over-stretched police force. Vehicle thefts have indeed assumed alarming proportions, registering a sharp increase of almost 20 per cent last year compared with 2008.
According to police records, auto-theft cases accounted for a whopping 25 per cent of the total Indian Penal Code cases registered last year. During 2009, the police registered 11,892 such cases. Statistics reveal that motorcycles remained the favourite among thieves. While 6,438 motorcycle thefts were reported last year, a total of 4,365 cars were reported stolen during that period.
Data analysis has established that the Capital’s most vehicle-theft prone areas were Prashant Vihar, Shakarpur, South Rohini, Saraswati Vihar, Mansarovar Park, Bhajanpura, Malviya Nagar, Paschim Vihar and Mehrauli. The police also found that vehicles stolen from Delhi were being disposed of in North-Eastern States, U.P., Bihar, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, and even in the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh.
“A large number of criminals have started stealing vehicles as it involves less risk but high profits. There are gangs that steal vehicles and dispose them of in Meerut. These vehicles are bought by the so-called scrap dealers who run clandestine workshops at Soti Ganj in Meerut. They have at their disposal a battery of workers capable of completely dismantling a vehicle within an hour. They first destroy the engine and chassis numbers to evade detection,” said a police officer.
Auto-theft gangs employ a range of modus operandi to maximise their profits. There are some that steal vehicles as per the specific demand of their clients, whereas some gangs steal a particular make that is popular in areas where they have good links with the receivers.
“It is almost a family business for a notorious auto-lifter, Sant Ram, whose brothers are also involved,” said another police officer.
The officer said it was surprising that people who spend huge sums on purchasing luxury vehicles are reluctant to install affordable security gadgets.
“Non-availability of legal parking spaces is another issue that needs attention. In previous cases, vehicles stolen from Delhi were found registered with the transport authorities of other States. The problem can be resolved only through computerisation and networking of data bases ensuring non-duplication of records,” suggested the officer.
Apart from police action against auto-lifters, vehicle manufacturers need to wake up to the present-day needs and deliver pre-installed security gadgets to prevent theft of vehicles and their subsequent misuse. “Tracking electronic chip can also been implanted in costly vehicles to help in the detection,” suggests one senior officer.
Devesh K. Pandey
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