Tackling the Rampant On-Road Thefts.
We do drive on roads day in and day out and there are times when we are waiting on a traffic signal or stuck in middle of a traffic jam. These kinds of situations are a blessing in disguise for beggars specially and the drug addicts who are often found in the most un-imaginable attire near crossings or dividers. In Delhi I have witnessed such happenings in person. Unsuspecting drivers often fall prey to such miscreants who approach you on pretext of alms and before you can imagine or do something, they’ll run away with something valuable of yours which could be a mobile, handbag or to say the least ambi-pure perfume if its stuck on extreme left or right AC vent.
Now that’s just one scenario, the other situation is even worse i.e when one stops at a signal, really often with the speed of light a drug addict runs towards the stationary car and punctures the left side Tyre. Now why specifically the left side, because we in India have a right hand drive and so if the thief tries his act from right, he’ll be caught. So they have this trick of puncturing the left Tyre so that they are not easily caught and they can run-away with valuables if the luck is on their side. They are often hiding behind the plants on divider or sitting near dividers and send one of their accomplice to puncture the Tyre and then they knock on the door from below so that the owner can’t see them and in an attempt to open the door he/she has to unlock the driver side door which means that all 4 doors get unlocked in one go and its easy for the thief to carry out the theft.
Recently, I was going to attend a launch event in Delhi and there is flyover near Niryat Bhavan and that flyover is narrow 2 way flyover. While descending from that a Dzire stopped in front of me for about 15 seconds due to merging traffic and so I too stopped. In front of my eyes, a person came running from the left side; he was hiding behind the transparent plastic sheets placed on side-walls of the flyover and within few seconds punctured rear-left wheel of Dzire in an attempt to run away with valuables. When I saw this, I immediately honked continuously which alerted the Dzire’s driver and the thief was unsuccessful in running away with any valuable but ran away for his life after puncturing the tyre. We could not catch hold of the thief but it was good to know that the elderly passenger and his belongings were safe.
This is just one incident, but such incidents do keep happening on a daily basis in many other cities of India. We cannot predict as to when this sort of situation may be faced by us but certainly we can be alert in prior so that we can tackle as well as prevent such happenings. Having iterated the happening, I feel some common ideas can prevent this untoward situation;
• Keep an eye on both sides ORVM. In IRVM you can’t see what’s happening beneath the doors.
• While waiting at any crossing, never leave window glasses open. If parked in heat, never open the window glass more than a minor slit for air circulation.
• Do not fall far any gesture by people sitting on dividers.
• Never pay the beggar on signals. I know it sounds harsh but many of them are the culprits who loot the driver and run away.
• If you see any such thing happening to any other person, the least you can do is sound the horn continuously to alert the other driver.
• Under no circumstance, ever try to get down from the car if you sense such a situation. Lock all the doors and windows.
• If you have a habit of smoking while driving, best is to avoid it because in that case too, at signals you are vulnerable to the thief.
• Never indulge or promote loose talks by by-standers who may approach you on pre-text of asking the route or time.
• Keep all important numbers on speed dials. Inform the nearest PCR and if possible click a snap of the thief.
• Avoid relieving yourself on road-side. I have seen this as common practice and in many cases the driver forgets to close the doors via central locking. This is really dangerous and serves as open invitation to the thief.
• During summer and rainy season, use window shades, those Black/Blue color ones which are sold. These help in avoiding the sight of your kept belongings from outside.
• Never keep Laptop bags, brief cases et al on front or rear seat. Keep it in the boot whether you drive alone or with co-passenger.
• For 2-wheeler riders, never keep the wallet in rear pocket of your trouser while riding. Keep it in the bag you are carrying.
Hope these above ideas are useful and I do look forward for many such ideas from all of you. It is just a small way by which we all can prevent and be alert about the rampant on-road thefts.