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ROP blames ‘careless owners’ for car thefts
Fahad Al Ghadani
September 24, 2013 , 9 : 57 am GST
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: In a report addressing the issue of vehicle thefts in Oman, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) has said that in several cases, sheer carelessness of the victims was also responsible for such crimes.
The ROP report points out that some vehicle owners effectively end up helping the thieves by leaving their cars in start mode, or leaving these unlocked with the key in the ignition.
This, as well as the huge disparity in the way social, cultural and economic life has developed in the Sultanate, can be attributed as the main reasons behind such crimes.
As per statistics, 175 miscreants were arrested on charges of vehicle theft during the first eight months last year.
Referring to the modus operandi of the thieves, the report has detailed some of the ways in which the crime was being committed. It says people leave vehicles in a running state; they leave them out in the open; they leave behind the keys or valuables inside the vehicle; park the vehicle in dark or abandoned places for long durations, or lend the vehicle to people not very close in which case they can make a duplicate set of keys and steal it later. Such carelessness often leads to vehicle thefts.
Some car owners keep valuables in the vehicles which only entices the thief further to commit the crime. At times, vehicles are left parked in places that are dark and deserted, and outside the public view; people leave them abandoned for a long time once the vehicles happen to break down on the way.
Studies have also attributed vehicle thefts to the ease with which thieves are able to break into locked vehicles because of deficiencies in the technical specifications. The ROP has emphasised in its report that vehicle theft is a "crime of opportunity" and people must not provide such an opportunity. Many investigations showed that the victims' own role in ensuring security of the vehicle was found wanting. Appropriate precautionary measures to protect vehicles from theft were necessary.
Investigations reveals that a large number of vehicle thefts took place when owners were busy shopping or operating automated teller machines while leaving the engines of their vehicles on.
The report shows that thieves have found various ways to dispose of the stolen vehicles — at times smuggling these out of the country immediately after the theft. The ROP has foiled many such smuggling attempts.
Often, the stolen vehicles are sold to the scrap dealers where their parts are taken out and sold. The report notes that efforts are on to elicit cooperation of such scrap shops to arrest such thieves and many successful arrests have already been made.
The report explains that the ROP is making intensive efforts to bring down the incidence of theft in general, and vehicle theft in particular.
The ROP patrols fan out in areas from where such crimes are reported more frequently.
The report shows that various techniques and means to combat crime to help detect offenders and increase awareness were part of the continuous efforts of the ROP.
The ROP has called upon the citizens and residents to remain cautious and guard their belongings. In case anyone witnesses a theft, he or she should report such cases to the police immediately. The ROP also called upon the community to report any suspicious case to the nearest police station or through the hot line 9999.
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