Mumbai witnesses an increase in the number of vehicle thefts during the lockdown

According to the Mumbai Police, 84 cases of vehicle theft were registered in April and 158 in May across 94 police stations in the city. In the last four months, i.e. from June to September 2020, a total of 1,019 crimes were registered.

Mumbai witnesses an increase in the number of vehicle thefts during the lockdown
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Over the last few months, the city of Mumbai has been battling the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown, and the number of vehicles on the roads had reduced drastically. With the city being shut for months, people did not use their vehicles and had just parked them on the streets, and in several areas of Mumbai, this became an opportunity for the thieves to steal the same.

Data released by the officials shows that the number of vehicles stolen over the last four months has increased significantly, especially during the first four months of the lockdown. As per the reports, heavy trucks, tankers, trailers and cars with state-of-the-art security features have been stolen from vehicles, and the same has been the case with motorcycles and rickshaws too.

The strict lockdown was imposed by the state government in the months of April and May, and both these months have seen a rise in vehicle theft as well as other offences. According to the Mumbai Police, 84 cases of vehicle theft were registered in April and 158 in May across 94 police stations in the city. However, as the lockdown was relaxed, vehicle theft gangs became active. In the last four months, i.e. from June to September 2020, a total of 1,019 crimes were registered.

The highest number of vehicles - 293 - were stolen in September, whereby it is assumed that gangs are organized and spread across the state. This involves a number of gangs, such as vehicle thieves, who deliver these vehicles to certain destinations outside the city, ones who buy stolen vehicles and the group which sell them to customers. Only a handful of vehicles dealing with essential services were running on the roads during the lockdown, and others were parked at the spot.

Parking is a major problem faced by the citizens across Mumbai and people usually park the vehicles at places available in the nearby areas, due to lack of space. As a result, many vehicles are parked on the side of the road outside the housing complex. These vehicles could easily become the spot for the gangs to steal. However, it was more dangerous to hide the stolen vehicle or take it out of the city or state.

During this period, police patrols were carried out in the city, but checkpoints were also set up at the toll gates of every district. With fewer vehicles on the road and more police, gangs of vehicle thieves were inactive and not taking the vehicles across the district borders, however, with permissions given by the state, the scenario has changed. Observing the rise in cases, checkpoints have been set up at city and district gates, making it possible for thieves to take stolen vehicles out of the city or out of the state, crime branch officials said.

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