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How Big of a Problem is Vehicle Theft in India?

Published: 10th July 2019 04:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2019 04:02 PM   |  A+A-

By Online MI

Vehicle theft is arguably the fastest growing type of crime in India. According to experts and political pundits, inadequate parking space in residential areas is contributing to this growing problem. Some urban areas see over 100 vehicles stolen every day, and the figures aren't much better for those living in rural regions.

While a majority of stolen vehicles are motorcycles and scooters, an increasingly large percentage of cars and trucks are being taken. Drivers are forced to park on roadways rather than in designated parking spots, and many criminals are taking advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, many drivers are either unable or unwilling to take preventative measures.

Perhaps most notably, only a relatively small number of drivers in most Indian cities have access to anti-theft technologies.

Prevalence of Anti-theft Devices in Urban Areas

Several major tech companies have been promoting products that could help to at least allow police officers to trace vehicles after they've been stolen. For instance, drivers can wire GPSWox GPS tracking modules to the underside of a vehicle. If the vehicle were ever taken, then the officers of the law could use relatively simple computer software to find where the thieves have driven it off to.

Expense is a major problem, especially in poorer areas. This kind of technology has the advantage of being inexpensive compared to most other techniques. Monitoring devices are less costly than alarms in many cases, and they can be attached to motorcycles as well as larger vehicles. Drivers are often concerned about paying more to acquire anti-theft devices than it would cost to replace a vehicle, which is a serious problem when it comes to used and imported cars that have rock bottom price tags.

In the near future, these modules may prove to be the answer to this issue. Unfortunately, crime continues to grow in the meantime.

Vehicle Theft Statistics in Indian Cities

According to the police department in Delhi, motor vehicle crime is the least-solved offense. Over 44,000 vehicles were stolen in 2018, but less than 20 percent of these were solved. The number of successfully recovered cars in usable condition is probably much lower than this.

After they take a car or motorcycle, many criminals will attempt to sell it through a fence. Some, however, take them to chop shops to be broken down for parts. This might help to explain why so few reported thefts ever get solved. Nearly ¾ of all vehicles stolen are two-wheelers according to one report, which could also contribute to difficulties.

Obviously, it's easier to locate a larger vehicle than a smaller one. Thieves will often takes scooters and motorcycles through back streets until they find an appropriate hiding place. Considering that they've already broken the law by stealing a vehicle, few of them think twice about violating traffic laws. As a result, police estimate that many stolen vehicles are driven on sidewalks and through car parks to further make detection difficult.

Madhur Verma, a representative of the Delhi Police force, claims that 125 cars are stolen every day in that city alone. Some thefts are particularly brazen. In some cases, these thefts are particularly brazen and happen right under the noses of officials.

For instance, two SUVs in Hyderabad were stolen within five kilometers of each other. Some pundits have suggested that these kinds of thefts are essentially a way for more organized criminal organizations to taunt law enforcement officials who have historically struggled to bring them to justice.

Others have suggested that these crimes are actually part of sophisticated operations designed to make money by bringing cars and trucks over the border to sell as part of a smuggling operation.

Reversing the Trend

Gangs have begun to drive vehicles all the way to Nepal, Bangladesh or Myanmar before they dispose of them. In these cases, they sell them at extremely low prices, which means they have to steal large numbers of vehicles in order to turn a profit. Over time, some of these operations may start to resemble legitimate business operations. That makes them harder for even international organizations to keep tabs on.

Cities are often incapable of adding additional parking spaces, though underground garages are slowly helping to alleviate this problem in some small way. Some former motorists have moved to public transportation, though this isn't an option in many areas that don't have regular bus or train service. As drivers get the opportunity to try out new technical innovations, however, crime rates should really begin to drop.

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