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Friday December 09, 2022

Major action to start in Balochistan to curb vehicle theft in Karachi

October 07, 2022

Vehicle lifting in Karachi remains a major challenge for the law enforcement agencies, as residents of the city are being deprived of vehicles worth billions of rupees every year.

In an attempt to curb the menace of vehicle snatching and theft in Karachi, the Anti-Vehicle Lifting Cell (AVLC), in collaboration with the Balochistan police and other agencies, has come up with a strategy.

Instead of primarily focusing on the vehicle lifting gangs operating in Karachi, the police have decided to launch an aggressive crackdown on the buyers and dealers of four-wheelers and two-wheelers operating in Balochistan, interior Sindh and other parts of the country to stop the demand and supply of the stolen vehicles.

In the first phase, the law enforcers are preparing to launch a massive operation in Balochistan. They have also prepared a list of buyers of four-wheelers and two-wheelers, and identified the areas before launching the grand operation.

“The list of some 20 notorious buyers has been prepared, and some seven areas have also been identified in Balochistan where the business of buying and selling stolen and snatched vehicles is in full swing,” AVLC chief SSP Tariq Nawaz told The News.

“The operation will be conducted soon, together with the Balochistan police, the Frontier Corps and the Balochistan Levies,” said the SSP. He said he has planned to basically stop the demand of lifted vehicles to stop their supply.

The vehicles stolen or snatched from Karachi usually do not have their disposal in the city, so they are usually dispatched to Balochistan, interior Sindh and Punjab. “Balochistan is the main hub of stolen and snatched vehicles,” said the officer.

“We have identified seven spots in Balochistan — Lasbella, Khuzdar, Sibi, Qila Saifullah, Jafarabad, Quetta and Pashin — where notorious dealers have been found to be purchasing stolen and snatched vehicles.”

Buyers in Balochistan often pay between Rs10,000 and Rs25,000 for two-wheelers, and between Rs80,000 and Rs1 million for four-wheelers. Four factors are involved in vehicle lifting in Karachi: the executors who snatch or steal the vehicles, the carriers who transport them from Karachi to their designated areas, and their dealers and buyers.

A report prepared by the AVLC shows that 20 to 22 suspects are currently active in car lifting, and around 25 gangs, each comprising two to three members, are active in motorbike lifting in Karachi.

The report also identifies the areas of interior Sindh where the stolen vehicles end up: Badin, Sajawal, Mirpurkhas, Tando Allah Yar and Nawabshah. “They use these vehicles after tampering with or punching the chassis and engine numbers, and also sell them in parts,” explained the officer.

All these lifters belong to Balochistan, interior Sindh and other parts of the country, who come to Karachi, select their areas and targets while staying for a short period of time, then return to their home towns. Last month Mobina Town and the Sachal area were their prime targets.

“When a gang is busted, a little while later another replaces it or the gang regroups after getting bail,” said the SSP. “We need to stop the demand to stop the supply.” According to the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee’s (CPLC) statistics from January 2022 to August 2022, residents of Karachi were deprived of 36,857 motorbikes and 1,500 cars.

If the average cost of a motorbike is estimated to be Rs30,000, the total worth of the stolen motorbikes is around Rs1.11 billion. Similarly, if the average cost of a car is estimated to be Rs500,000, the total worth of the stolen cars is around Rs750 million.

In January, according to the CPLC data, 16 cars were snatched and 184 stolen, but only 87 of them were recovered. Similarly, 419 motorbikes were snatched and 3,908 stolen, but only 319 of them were recovered.

In February, 15 cars were snatched and 171 stolen, while only 56 of them were recovered. Similarly, 405 motorbikes were snatched and 4,081 stolen, but only 271 of them were recovered.

In March, 16 cars were snatched and 204 stolen, but only 57 of them were recovered. Similarly, 426 motorbikes were snatched and 4,285 stolen, but only 286 of them were recovered.

In April, 12 cars were snatched and 181 stolen, but only 42 of them were recovered. Similarly, 353 motorbikes were snatched and 352 stolen, but only 184 of them were recovered.

In May, 12 cars were snatched and 174 stolen, but only 47 of them were recovered. Similarly, 383 motorbikes were snatched and 4,454 stolen, but only 246 of them were recovered.

In June, 10 cars were snatched and 178 stolen, but only 55 of them were recovered. Similarly, 456 motorbikes were snatched and 4,197 stolen, but only 248 of them were recovered.

In July, 15 cars were snatched and 145 stolen, but only 39 of them were recovered. Similarly, 393 motorbikes were snatched and 3,984 stolen, but only 150 of them were recovered.

In August, 12 cars were snatched and 155 stolen, but only 55 of them were recovered. Similarly, 450 motorbikes were snatched and 4,869 stolen, but only 257 of them were recovered.

Motorbike thefts

The Anti-Vehicle Lifting Cell (AVLC) on Thursday issued its nine-month performance report, in which they claimed arresting more than 200 gangs involved in vehicle lifting, Salis bin Perwaiz adds.

AVLC chief SSP Tariq Nawaz said that a gradual decline in car and motorbike thefts has been observed over the past nine months, during which 4,211 suspects were arrested and 212 gangs busted. He said 24 suspects were arrested with injuries and five were killed during 19 police encounters. He added that 3,015 motorbikes and 462 cars were recovered, with most of them returned to their legal owners.

Doing a comparative review of August 2022 and September 2022, SSP Nawaz said car thefts decreased by 3.82 per cent in September. Likewise, he said, a decrease of 27.49 per cent was observed in motorbike thefts last month. The officer also did a comparative review of September 2021 and September 2022, saying that car snatching decreased by 17.39 per cent last month when compared to the same month last year.

He said car thefts also decreased by 21.76 per cent, while a total decrease of 21.30 per cent was observed in car snatching and thefts. The SSP said that motorbike thefts decreased by 26.7 per cent last month when compared to the same month last year.

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