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Home > Spotlight
 
Car theft across Sharjah in the fast lane

Afkar Abdullah / 10 February 2013

The Sharjah Police have blamed irresponsible vehicle owners for a spate of car thefts across the emirate recently.

Despite intensified efforts being carried out by the Sharjah Police to curb car thefts, thieves continue to target luxury cars left unlocked by negligent owners.

A top official at the Sharjah Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said that during 2012 and 2013 the police arrested more than 40 suspects specialising in car thefts.

The criminals target cars left unattended with their engines running and in a bid to smuggle the stolen vehicles out of the country, they modify the vehicles and change the number plates. Investigations have also revealed that some of the suspects use duplicate keys for luxury cars, including BMW, Lexus, Prado, Mercedes, Land Cruiser and other four-wheel drives.

“Some key makers facilitate car thefts by making a large number of keys in return for huge financial returns. The key makers in Sharjah are being monitored by the police to ensure that they are not indulging in the misuse of their profession,” he said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Major Khalid Al Zaabi, Director of the Awareness Department at the Sharjah Police, said that in order to prevent car thefts, which saw a rise during 2012 and the beginning of 2013, the Sharjah Police had recently organised an awareness campaign under the slogan, ‘Do not leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running’ which ran for two weeks. The intensified awareness programme is aimed at educating the motorists against leaving their cars with the engine running, even for a second.

Car theft cases

February 5

  • The Sharjah Police arrested a 25-year-old Indian man for stealing a Toyota Camry from Al Khan area. The car belonged to an Arab woman who left it unattended in a sandy area near her residence.

January 31

  • The Sharjah Police arrested a 42-year-old Pakistani for committing a series of car thefts in various parts of Sharjah.
  • The suspect, identified as T.K. and his accomplice, were hiding stolen cars inside containers kept in the Sharjah Industrial Area and covered them with tyres to smuggle it out of the country.

January 2

  • The Sharjah Police arrested two Iranians for allegedly stealing cars in the emirate.
  • Al Buheirah Police Station and Industrial Area police stations received several complaints about a spate of car thefts.
  • The thieves allegedly targeted Chevrolets and Mitsubishis in areas including Al Qasimiya, Al Tawoun and the industrial areas.

He added that this act will be considered a violation, for which careless motorists will be fined Dh300 based on traffic safety law Article No 62 issued by the Ministry of Interior: “Leaving the vehicle unattended with the engine running gives an opportunity for thieves to steal the car easily. However, in case such crimes are committed, the car owner will be solely held responsible,” he stressed.

The Sharjah Police have increased patrols around all parts of the emirate to prevent car thefts, he said, appealing to motorists not to leave the keys inside cars and not to leave the engine running without anybody present in the car. They urged car owners to park their cars in proper areas like the municipality’s general parking facilities, as these parking lots were connected to control rooms that monitor cars round-the-clock.

Residents’ concerns

Some residents in Sharjah said they were worried about their cars. Since the thieves only targeted fancy and luxury brands, particularly 4WDs, they felt insecure to park their vehicles anywhere. Even if the vehicles are securely locked, the thieves use duplicate keys to escape with the cars.

Residents urged the police to increase patrols even on busy streets and in residential areas, especially during the night.

Moza M, a victim whose car was stolen in Al Khan area, said that her car was stolen because it was unsecured, but thanks to the Sharjah Police, the vehicle was recovered within 48 hours and the thief was arrested.

Some of the victims said their vehicles had not yet been recovered, while many others said their cars had been recovered after a month or two from the day of the theft.

Insurance

Amin Abdul Al Rahman, an insurance expert at a Sharjah-based company, said that insurance does not cover cars that were stolen while the engine was running. Not many of the insurance companies were affected by the current spate of car thefts, because most of the insurance claimants were found not eligible as the theft of their cars took place while the engine was on. The insurance company’s decision regarding approval of an insurance claim is based on the police report that should accompany the claim application. Tracker devices installed in cars would minimise the thefts,” he said.

Abul Al Rahman pointed out that currently a number of insurance companies have begun to give percentage subsidy to clients who have car trackers in order to prevent car thefts. His company is granting subsidies to its customers because vehicles with car trackers were helping them to save huge amounts which otherwise would have to be paid to car owners in cases of car thefts: “We have, on a number of occasions, received cases of stolen cars and efforts to trace them have been in vain. The insurance company had to pay out huge amounts. However, if a car tracker is installed in the car, the risks involved are minimised,” he added.  afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

 

 

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