38 cars stolen in KSA every day: Ministry

38 cars stolen in KSA every day: Ministry

February 06, 2017
Car thefts
Car thefts

RIYADH — An average of 38 vehicles are stolen every day in the Kingdom but police are only able to find and return less than half of them, Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Sunday quoting official figures from the Ministry of Interior.

Informed sources said the danger of this kind of crime is not in the theft itself but the vehicles might be used to commit more serious crimes, especially terrorist activities.

They noted a remarkable increase in car thefts during the past few years, making it the most common crime in the Kingdom.

According to a statistical report issued by the Interior Ministry for 2016, as many as 1,134 cars were stolen in the month of January alone. The report said most of the car thefts took place in the major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah, Tabuk and Dammam.

The ministry said more than 15,000 cars were stolen in 2014. It added that out of 9,000 cars stolen in 2013, police were able to return 4,600 of them, which is a ratio of 46 percent.

The thieves usually change the car›s outlook and its plate number so as to sell or dismantle to sell some of its parts.

Other thieves use stolen cars for drifting and joy riding but most of the stolen cars are used by terrorists to carry out their operations.

Some observers attributed the rise in car thefts to the weak presence of security patrols on the streets while others attributed this to the slackness of the police in dealing seriously with reports of car thefts.

A third category of observes blamed the rising number of thefts to car owners themselves who do not immediately report the thefts because they are not sure the police will seriously act upon their complaint.

A study, issued by Prince Naif Arab University for Security Sciences in January 2016, blamed drifting, unemployment and the negligence by car owners themselves for the rising number of car thefts in Riyadh. It said a complete lack of, or weak, monitoring of the spare parts shops might also be a reason behind the rising number of car thefts.

The study recommended the planting of surveillance cameras in a number of streets to resort to in case of robberies and asked the concerned security authorities to use modern technology in pursuing stolen cars.

In 2014, the Eastern Province Police had uncovered a gang including a number of citizens who stole 12 cars just to play with and burn them down at the end of the day. In the same year Makkah Police caught a gang of five Saudis aged between 16 and 22 who stole and burned drown 53 cars while in Jeddah a gang of young African expatriates aged between 14 and 18 were caught stealing 18 cars.

Early this year, Riyadh Police apprehended seven expatriates who used to steal the parts of luxury cars.

In late 2014, police in Jazan nabbed a gang of 10 car thieves led by a woman who used to lure drivers out of their cars, giving an opportunity to the thieves to steal the cars while their engines were still running.

In Tabuk, three citizens of special needs were arrested for stealing a number of cars and hiding them behind a hillock after changing their features.

The Ministry of Justice said 1,433 cases of car thefts reached the courts in 2014.

February 06, 2017