Delhi in 2017: Heinous crimes such as rape, murder dip but vehicle thefts go up
Motor vehicle theft cases in 2017 were highest ever recorded. Over 2,000 more vehicles were stolen from city’s streets till November 30 compared to 2016.Updated: Dec 26, 2017 14:14 IST
Delhi was much safer in 2017 compared to previous years, but the one crime police failed to curb yet again was theft of vehicles. While heinous crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and snatching decreased this year, over 2,000 more vehicles were stolen from city streets till November 30 this year compared to the same period last year.
According to Delhi Police’s annual crime data, the numbers of vehicles stolen from city streets have doubled in the last six years. In 2012, at least one vehicle was stolen every hour. Six years later, at least four vehicles are reported stolen across the city on an average every hour. The number of cars and two wheelers on Delhi’s streets have also increased, records show. There are around 29% more vehicles on the city streets since 2012.
According to the data, till November 30 this year, there were 37,178 cases of vehicle theft, while for the same period last year, the number was 35,130 — an increase of 2,048 thefts. Motor vehicle (MV) theft cases this year was the highest ever recorded.
Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik told HT that though MV theft cases increased this year, police have also arrested more vehicle thieves. “The increase in thefts may be marginal. But more auto lifters this year were arrested and more vehicles have been recovered. With better crackdown we will be able to bring the figure down in the coming days.”
In October, police conducted an internal study of all the vehicle theft cases and profiles of the vehicle stealing gangs. Police have identified places in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh where stolen vehicles from Delhi are sold — at times in broken down into parts. The study also showed that most stolen vehicles were those which did not have additional security features such as gear lock, steering lock and were parked on the roads.
A senior police officer said the increase in vehicle thefts could also be attributed to the increase of vehicle population. “In colonies, people have exhausted parking spaces and use the road outside to park their cars. Police stations across the city are in touch with the heads of the resident welfare associations and are ensuring that only one entry or exit gate is open in colonies, so that it can be monitored,” said an officer.
In 2012, there were 24.74 lakh cars and 49.62 lakh two wheelers registered with the Delhi government’s transport department. Since then, the number has increased to 31.72 lakh cars and 66.48 lakh two wheelers. The total vehicle population in Delhi crossed over a crore this year, including vehicles such as three-wheelers, e-rickshaws, buses and goods carriers.
Following an increase in the MV thefts, Delhi Police also held a meeting with the heads of the district police from other states to prevent vehicle theft gangs from dumping vehicles in other states.
Drop in crimes in 2017
Though there were many murders this year which made headlines such as the five murders inside a bungalow in northeast Delhi, the number of murder cases decreased this year. Till November 30, this year there were 448 murder cases compared to last year’s 478.
The number of robbery cases reduced by almost 50% at 2,714 cases compared to last year’s 4,425. Since 2014 when robberies had reached a high of over 6,000 cases, this is the first time there was a reduction in the cases.
Snatching, that has become the most common street crime, also decreased. There were many cases of snatchers using shooting when the victims resisted the snatching attempt. Delhi Police have proposed a law that calls for harsher sentences for the snatchers so that it acts as a deterrent. A total of 7,870 cases of snatching were reported this year, while the number last year was 8,856.
On crimes decreasing this year, commissioner Patnaik said, “Our focus this year was on preventive policing. We galvanised the beat system in a major way. We identified areas and increased patrolling in vulnerable areas to deter criminals. And even within those areas, additional focus was to ensure police presence on specific timings when criminals are more active.”
The top cop said that emphasis this year was on criminals who enter Delhi from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. “We discussed this in during our interstate coordination meetings with their counterparts and the issues raised were acted upon.”
First Published: Dec 26, 2017 12:01 IST