Lack of proper parking spaces in the capital gives rise to auto theft casesThieves sell stolen two-wheelers at prices ranging between Rs50,000 and Rs150,000, depending on the vehicle’s condition
On November 23, Sanjay Bista’s two-wheeler got stolen from Sanepa area, Lalitpur. Bista had parked his Pulsar 220 motorcycle at an open space after not getting a slot in the nearby parking lot.
Bista, after losing his newly-purchased bike, immediately filed a complaint at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD). Police recovered Bista’s stolen motorcycle after two days and apprehended the alleged thief, Pramod Kumar Manohar.
“Upon interrogation, Manohar revealed that he had stolen the bike as it was not parked properly, making it easy for him to break the bike’s lock,” said Ramesh Bajgain, sub-inspector and chief of the Victim Support Unit of the MTPD.
The unit, which mostly looks into vehicle theft cases, receives hundreds of complaints every year. In the last four months of the current fiscal year, it received 554 complaints of vehicle theft. The unit has so far recovered 118 vehicles and returned them to their respective owners.
Ishwar Man Dangol, spokesperson of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, concedes that the parking lots in Kathmandu are not safe.
“Not just theft, vehicles parked in public places also face the risk of getting scratched or vandalised,” said Dangol. “Considering this, we have initiated ‘smart parking’ facility in Kathmandu. Currently, there are five such facilities which have security surveillance.”
There are 83 spaces in Kathmandu for the parking of two-wheelers and four-wheelers in addition to those five smart parking facilities. However, they are still inadequate to fulfil the city’s parking needs.
“We need an additional 50 smart parking slots to assure the safety of vehicles and fulfil the existing parking demand.”
According to Bajgain, hospitals, cinema hall premises and busy markets are more vulnerable to vehicle thefts.
“Almost all two-wheelers lifted from the city are sold in rural areas where the presence of law enforcement officials is low. Racketeers are found selling a stolen bike for Rs 50,000 to Rs 150,000, depending on its condition,” he added.
A majority of the stolen vehicles are never found and the number of vehicle thefts is rising, shows data of the traffic MTPD.
In the fiscal year 2015-16, 733 cases of vehicle theft were registered, out of which 131 were retrieved. The number of vehicle theft rose to 1,030 in the fiscal year 2016-17. Only 168 of these stolen vehicles were recovered.
Similarly, in the fiscal year 2017-18, the number of vehicle theft cases stood at 1,385, out of which 251 were recovered.
In the following fiscal year 2018-19, the number of vehicles theft rose to 1,611. Only 189 vehicles were retrieved.
Officials attributed the rise of vehicle thefts to lack of safe parking spaces in the Capital and unsafe parking habits of the city residents.
“We have seen some cases where the vehicles were stolen even after being properly parked in the parking area. So, having more parking places is not enough. Every parking area must have CCTV cameras and guards to ensure the security of the vehicles,” said Senior Superintendent of Police, Bhim Dhakal, chief of the MTPD.