While close to 8,900 more vehicles were stolen in Delhi last year compared to 2014, the number of vehicles thieves arrested decreased drastically by close to 50 per cent during the same time period, according to data released by the Delhi Police.
With an increase of close to 40 per cent, 31,114 motor vehicle (MV) theft cases were reported in 2015 compared to 22,219 cases in 2014, said the report.
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The Delhi Police made only 1,542 arrests in 2015— which is roughly a 50 per cent decrease in the number of arrests made by them in the same period in 2014. According to the data, 2,925 auto lifters were arrested in 2014.
A senior officer said the launch of the MV theft application in 2015 by police has had a direct impact on the arrests of thieves. 22,644 FIRs regarding MV thefts were registered through the app last year.
“Now, people file their theft report online and wait for hassle-free report to claim their insurance. This has made the police officers complacent in terms of investigating stolen vehicles,” he said. The officer added that, earlier, police were burdened with the cases manually.
The manual process involved reporting the theft, getting an FIR registered, obtaining the final police report and claiming insurance, which was cumbersome.
The MV application also facilitates the automatic linking of stolen vehicles with the help of updated online vehicle theft database.
Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) declined to comment on the reasons for the massive decrease in arrests of auto thieves.
On January 4, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi — during the annual police press conference — said the Delhi Police couldn’t detect 90 per cent of the auto thefts and asked people of Delhi “who can afford” to depend on technology to avoid such situation.
The Delhi Police cited lack of awareness among the public as the reason for the shoot up of auto thefts.
“The acute shortage of parking space, the general practice of parking vehicles on the roadside, and unwillingness of majority of owners to install anti-auto theft equipment are major reasons that lead to auto thefts,” said a senior police officer.