Is your prized car safe in the place you have parked it? These days, cars disappear from all places — colony roads, where people usually park them, and even authorised parking lots.
Police figures say vehicle thefts constitute about 15 per cent of all crimes committed in Delhi and that various auto gangs are operating in the city. Most of the time, space crunch is responsible for such crimes, they say. But like every problem, there is a solution to this as well — prevention.
The Delhi Police have come up with a pamphlet called Car Safety Test to help drivers ascertain if their cars are safe where they have parked. The pamphlet, being distributed among several residential colonies, contains 10 questions. Each question has three solutions and different marks are allotted for each answer.
If one scores less than five in the test, it means he or she is being careless with the car and needs to strengthen its security. If the score is less than 10, it means the person may be making an effort to secure the car, but it isn’t enough.
“If you have a gear and steering lock, a thief cannot steal your car even if he manages to open it. Preventive measures can reduce the number of car theft cases,” a senior police officer said.
A number of cars are stolen from residential colonies that do not have designated parking lots. One way out can be creating specific parking lots within gated colonies and securing it with a barbed wire with two to three guards to patrol it.
Other safety equipment such as CCTV cameras can be installed in such areas to keep an eye on vehicles entering and leaving the spot. It is better than having guards to patrol each and every street and end up giving carjackers enough time to execute their plan due to the sheer length of the area that needs to be patrolled.
Considering the fact that most vehicles are stolen from unauthorized parking spaces inside residential areas, the Delhi Police have also started taking several preventive measures.
Apart from holding regular meetings with members of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), the police minimise entry and exit points of such colonies at night. This way, most of their staff is able to keep an eye on the vehicles entering and exiting colonies. Moreover, in the RWA meetings, the police urge and encourage residents to ensure more anti-theft gadgets in their vehicles
“We also request RWAs to employ night watchmen. The beat staff is also encouraged to increase patrolling during night and in the early hours. We conduct surveys to identify places more prone to vehicle thefts. A detailed study of the timings when most of the thefts are reported is being done so that we can identify trends and take preventive steps accordingly,” said the senior officer.
But thefts are also reported from authorized parking lots. When asked if the police were taking any steps to check these, the officer said, “The instructions to parking contractors are very clear. If any theft is reported from their parking lots, we have the authority to register a case against them. We recommend to the authorities concerned that their licences be cancelled and they be blacklisted.”
And haphazard parking within colony roads needs to be addressed too. Bhure Lal, who heads the Environment Pollution Control Authority, said, “Traffic police or the local police should be entrusted with the job of fining inside colonies too. The law too should be amended. Rather than charging a mere Rs. 100 for haphazard parking, we should increase it to Rs. 500 for the first offence, Rs. 1,000 for the second and Rs. 1,500 for the third. The licence should be cancelled if the person commits it for the fourth time.”
Anumita Roychoudhary of CSE said, “Smoother parking reduces social tension, road rage and law and order incidents rampant in cities like Delhi.”