Capital's "street pirates" had an enterprising year in 2010. Not only were four thousand more vehicles stolen as compared to last year, motor vehicle theft was, in fact, at its highest in two years.
"Motor vehicle theft went up from 9,913 in 2009 to 13,992 last year. That's an increase of more than 4,079 cases. The holiday week between December 25 and December 31, 2010, saw as many as 527 cars and bikes getting stolen in the capital," said a senior police officer requesting anonymity.
On an average, it was 100 vehicles getting stolen for six days — a time when police presence was touted to be at its highest and most efficient.
In fact, December 31 was the worst ---- 116 vehicles were stolen till New Year's Eve, a day when the local police and their traffic counterparts claimed to have been on their toes. "East Delhi was the worst district in this respect with as many as 90 vehicles getting stolen between Christmas and New Year's Eve. South Delhi was a close second with 77 vehicle thefts reported. It was followed by northeast Delhi 71 vehicles stolen," the officer said.
According to Delhi Police records, only two cases of vehicle theft were reported during the six-day period from New Delhi area and 28 from north Delhi.
"If we draw a comparison between the same six days and the same period of last year, vehicle theft actually came down as only 527 vehicles were stolen this year in contrast to 559 in 2009," the officer said.
Police attributed the increase in motor vehicle theft to the increasing vehicular population of the city in addition to an ever-increasing influx of migrants from the NCR. The carelessness of vehicle owners too, police say, is a factor that is neither called into question nor considered in most cases.
"People have enough money to buy expensive, fuel-guzzling cars and get them modified, but not the extra bit needed to install security equipment like automatic gate locks. Most people do not even believe in taking their important documentation like registration and insurance papers out of them before parking them for the night," the officer added.