Muscat: Over 584 cases of vehicle theft were registered from the beginning of this year until the end of August, according to Col. Mohammed bin Khalfan Al Dugashi, assistant inspector general of investigations and criminal investigations of the Royal Oman Police.
Col. Al Dugaishi added that 175 miscreants have been arrested on charges of vehicle theft.
He said that in several cases the victim's carelessness was also responsible for such crimes. The vehicle owners help the thief by keeping their car in starting mode or they may keep the car open and with the key in the ignition.
Some car owners keep their valuables inside their car which in turn makes it easy for the thief to commit the crime. Some people park their vehicles in dark and deserted places, away from public view, or they leave them for a long time in places where the cars have broken down.
Col. Al Dugaishi added that as per the provision of Article 279 of the Omani Penal Code, the thief is likely to be sentenced to three months to three years of imprisonment in addition to a
fine of RO10 to RO500.
The assistant Inspector General added that recently there have been new ways of car theft, including cases where the thief monitored people withdrawing money from ATMs and then broke the windows to steal the money once the victims were in their vehicles. Often the rate of crimes increases during the summer months of every year.
This is due to many reasons, most importantly holidays and travelling abroad, when houses and cars are left without being watched. During school holidays, students have a lot of spare time; and if their time is not used wisely, it can result in boredom which in turn may lead to criminal activities.
Col. Al Dugasishi explained that the ROP is making an effort to counter thefts through foot and mobile patrols in all the regions of the Sultanate. It is also investigating and monitoring the activities of suspects and released criminals to keep track of their activities and whereabouts, and is also conducting city patrols close to markets and banks.
The ROP calls for all citizens and residents to be cautious and to take care of their belongings. In case of witnessing cases of theft, the people should report these cases to the police immediately.