Last August, businessman Angad Singh bought a Mitsubishi Pajero. Within days, the SUV was stolen. A week later, Singh, a resident of East Patel Nagar, got himself another Pajero. This time, thieves carried off a wing mirror and a windowglass from the vehicle in quick succession.
“I guard my vehicle all the time,” says Singh.
Many Delhiites have suffered similarly at the hands of car thieves.
In fact, car theft is the commonest crime in the capital. In their annual report released on Friday, the Delhi Police said thefts of motor vehicles were up by 23 per cent last year as compared with 2007. The jump was much more than that in crimes such as murder, rape, robberies and snatchings.
Maruti 800 is the most commonly stolen car in the capital.
The police blamed the haphazard parking of vehicles and the non-availability of adequate parking space in residential areas.
Shifting the blame on vehicle owners, they said people’s indifference had led to an increase in thefts. “We aren’t a chowkidar force,” said Commissioner of Police Y.S. Dadwal. “If people can buy cars worth Rs 25 lakh, they should also spend a little money on installing security devices in the car. Improper parking and no parking space in residential areas has made it easier for thieves to steal cars.”
About 3.4 lakh people were penalised last year for improper parking. That, clearly, did not do much to prevent cars from being stolen across Delhi.