Basic security can ward of trouble

Investing in tools like gear lock, steering lock or even GPS tracker is a good idea

Vehicle thefts have been increasing over the years as thieves keep changing their modus operandi to dodge police. Although law enforcers are chalking out measures to ensure that the cases fall to a minimum, they say the figures will not come down unless people themselves take some basic security measures.

According to police officers, vehicle thefts are often ‘crimes of opportunity’.

“Leaving the key in your car, even a hidden spare key, greatly increases the chances of having your car stolen,” says Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.

In many cases, people have left their car or motorcycle unlocked and gone to the market or ATM machines a few feet away – only to find their vehicle driven away by a thief.

“Take your keys with you even for quick trips. Always keep your doors and windows locked, no matter how short the distance or how safe the neighbourhood, market or road is,” adds Bhagat.

It is also important to roll up the windows properly and not leave any gap as thieves can exploit it to steal the car easily.

A vehicle can be stolen very quickly – it  takes less than a minute for a professional car thief. An unoccupied car with the engine running can be taken away within seconds.

“So never make your car an easy target for a thief. It takes only seconds to steal a car,” warns Bhagat.

Leaving valuables in a car also attracts thieves as it is not just the car but also its contents that grab their attention. “They will often smash a window just to steal a phone, camera or stereo.”

Most cars are stolen at night. Thieves are always on the prowl with a new modus operandi. “If a suspicious looking person approaches your car, always be careful and immediately inform police,” he says. It is safer to park vehicles in well-lit areas at night.
Parking at an authorised place where a night guard is present also increases security.
“Leaving your vehicles on roads or lanes near your house, assuming that it is safe, is an opportunity for thieves,” says Bhagat.

Police recommend installing high-visibility theft deterrent devices, such as a steering wheel lock or security alarm, global positioning system and other safety devices. Earlier, thieves stole vehicles with the help of a screwdriver at night. Currently, duplicate or master keys have become a competent tool for them.

“So installation of safety devices and taking some precautions can save you a big hassle later,” says Bhagat.

Police too have intensified patrolling at night, and put up temporary pickets at various places to help nab vehicle thieves.

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