‘City of cars’ Delhi reports maximum vehicle thefts, 95 stolen everyday: NCRB

Updated on Sep 16, 2021 05:39 AM IST

According to the report, Crime in India, which was released on Tuesday, last year Delhi reported 35,019 cases of vehicle thefts. The rate of the crime, case per million population, at 17.2 was also the highest in Delhi.

Delhi reported the highest cases in this crime category in 2019 too with 46,725 vehicles stolen that year. (Amal KS/HT)
Delhi reported the highest cases in this crime category in 2019 too with 46,725 vehicles stolen that year. (Amal KS/HT)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

At least 95 vehicles were stolen every day last year in the national capital, the maximum across all states and Union Territories, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s latest report.

Delhi Police data shows that, in the last 10 years (between 2011 and 2020), a total of 307,000 vehicles were stolen in the Capital.(HT File)
Delhi Police data shows that, in the last 10 years (between 2011 and 2020), a total of 307,000 vehicles were stolen in the Capital.(HT File)

According to the report, Crime in India, which was released on Tuesday, last year Delhi reported 35,019 cases of vehicle thefts. The rate of the crime, case per million population, at 17.2 was also the highest in Delhi.

Maharashtra was second on the list with 21,203 cases at a rate of 1.7. However, in terms of crime rate, Haryana was second on the list with 5.0, though it reported 14,636 cases. In absolute numbers, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan reported 19,019 and 19,063 cases.

Delhi reported the highest cases in this crime category in 2019 too with 46,725 vehicles stolen that year.

The crime rate that year was 23.1, also the highest among states and union territories. In 2019, Delhi was followed by Uttar Pradesh at 28,417 cases and Maharashtra with 25,780 thefts.

Cars and two-wheelers are the most common items stolen across the city after mobile phones (at least 175 mobile phones were stolen every day in Delhi between January and February 2017, the Union government had told the Lok Sabha that year).

Delhi Police data shows that, in the last 10 years (between 2011 and 2020), a total of 307,000 vehicles were stolen in the Capital.

This number is more than the number of registered vehicles in all of Srinagar on March 31, 2017 (according to a report mentioned in the road transport year book 2016-17 of the ministry of road transport and highways).

According to the Delhi Economic Survey report, there were 11.8 million motorised vehicles in Delhi as of March 31, 2020. Cars and jeeps make around 28% of the total registered vehicles, and two-wheelers about 67%.

Delhi Police officers say that vehicle thefts constitute about 14% of all the crimes in the city. Even during the first hard lockdown, which restricted the movement of people, about 83 vehicles (more than three an hour) were stolen every day in Delhi between March 15 and 30, 2020.

Retired Delhi Police’s deputy commissioner LN Rao, who worked in the force for over three decades, attributed the reasons for the high number of motor vehicle thefts to a number of factors such as – organised gangs spread across different states, high volume of cars in Delhi and lack of parking space and carelessness of several vehicle owners.

Rao said, “There are too many cars and no proper space to park. People park their vehicles on roads and footpaths. The network of vehicles thieves is spread across different states, where the stolen vehicle are sold or dismantled. There is a lucrative market for stolen vehicles. Also, solving vehicle thefts is not a priority for most police officers on the ground because the owners also do not pursue the case since they get insurance. However, since the number of cases have been so high, it has remained a focus for the Delhi Police. The police have busted several inter-state rackets but the situation is different in other states.”

Delhi Police have traced stolen vehicles and pursued gangs to as far as Nagaland and Sikkim. Two months ago, police busted a gang that stole vehicles in Delhi and sold it in Kashmir. Investigation showed that the gang had stolen at least 100 vehicles since 2015.

Delhi police spokesperson, Chinmoy Biswal, said they have launched a persistent crackdown on gangs of vehicle thieves.

“Our teams at the police stations level, the crime branch and other units have launched a crackdown on vehicle thieves. This is the reason why we have busted many gangs and recovered large number of stolen vehicles from different states. The number of cases is peculiarly high in Delhi also because the city has the maximum number of vehicles.”

Biswal added, “Our police teams also work with RWAs to lock specific gates of a colony at night so the entry/ exits are restricted and monitored by the beat staff and security guards. While we are working round the clock to arrest vehicle thieves, we request citizens not park vehicles or two wheelers in safer places, check the lock and follow basic security practices. Also, citizens in Delhi have the facility of registering online FIRs for car thefts. Unlike other places, this is a free and fair registration system that may have also led to higher number of cases.”

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