If someone is following you, drive in the centre lane and drive to a crowded place. Always check your back seat when you get into your car and never ever leave anything of value inside it. This advise was given by Farida Essa, the general secretary of Consumer Association of Pakistan (CAP), during her presentation on how the consumers viewed car theft.
In her presentation Essa discussed how cars were stolen, why they were stolen and what tools were used in them.
She was talking at a seminar titled “Tracking of Stolen Vehicles on Highways and Motorways”, organised by National Highways and Motorways Police (NH&MP).
SP Usman Ghani Siddiqui of Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) criticised the weak prosecution loopholes in the system which allowed seasoned car thieves to get out on bail and from trials. “We arrested some professional thieves more than three times but they are released either by the court or because they can afford good lawyers,” said SP Siddiqui. “Sometimes the FIRs lodged against them are weak.”
He said that the thieves use jammers for blocking the signals of car trackers. They cost between Rs24,000 and Rs35,000. “We recover 40 to 50 per cent of the four-wheelers,” he said. “The people usually don’t report motorcycle thefts.”
Talking about the movement of vehicles between provinces, Siddiqui said that the people had to get clearance from the ACLC if they wanted to travel to another province by road. This way their details enter the system and acts as a car theft deterrent. Hypothetically the police will not let anyone enter a province without the certificate.
In his presentation, the chief of Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), Ahmed Chinoy, said that the import of anti-tracking devices should be controlled. The excise department should issue standardised number plates to motorcycles for easy recognition. “No one registers FIRs for a motorcycle theft in Sindh and 80 per cent of stolen motorcycles are not recovered in Karachi,” he said. “Of those which are recovered, only 50 per cent are useless.” The people usually buy another one as soon as their motorcycle gets stolen.
NH&MP IG Wajid Ali Khan Durrani said that the United Nations had declared this to be the decade of road safety. There were 23 training schools across the country set up by NH&MP.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.