With narrow roads, unauthorised parking and open areas on all sides, Shakarpur provides ample opportunities for vehicle thieves. This, combined with the large area of the locality (7.7 sq km) and severe staff crunch, has left the police force at Shakarpur helpless in the face of the rising number of vehicle thefts.
According to statistics provided by the Delhi Police, in 2015, Shakarpur police station recorded the highest number of vehicle thefts in the city. In the past five years, it has been among the top five stations with a high rate of vehicle thefts.
Like other police stations in the capital, Shakarpur too faces similar problems — along with a severe staff crunch, police personnel have to patrol the area round-the-clock, with only three gypsies and five motorcycles. As a result, police sources said deploying more personnel to patrol the area is not possible. Currently, the station has a strength of 252 police personnel, including three inspectors.
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“Vehicle thieves usually lift cars from the roadside where owners park cars illegally. Despite CCTV footage, police are not able to trace the offenders,” they said. Sources in the east district police told The Indian Express that the station also faces a resource problem as it doesn’t have records of vehicles. “Seven head constables have been appointed to investigate motor vehicle theft cases. So far, 188 cases have been reported. This means one investigating officer is handling 26 cases,” said police sources.
A senior officer said, “Recently, the anti-auto-theft-squad of east district conducted a crime study of Shakarpur police station and found that most vehicle thieves were from other states, especially from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut and Sambhal. An analysis of the cases also revealed that 70 per cent of those arrested were first-time offenders and 30 per cent of them were either illiterate or school dropouts.”.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (east) B S Gurjar said, “We have identified the most vulnerable points in Shakarpur and placed barricades at entry and exit points. While these points are opened in the morning, it is shut after 11 pm.”
“We started this drive a week ago and have received positive results. We are working on several leads to trace the gangs. Policemen in plainclothes have also been deployed to keep a tab on the gangs,” he added.
To deal with the staff crunch, authorities have decided to divide Shakarpur police station into two. The present force was sanctioned 20 years ago.