LAHORE: Alarmed by the rise in the number of motorbike thefts, senior police officers in Lahore have called on motorbike manufacturers to replace “obsolete and outdated security features” with new technology to prevent theft.
In a rare move, the Lahore law enforcement authorities have asked manufacturers to introduce anti-theft security technology to secure the property of citizens who use it as an economical mode of transportation in the city. They proposed the installation of “battery security devices” in motorcycles to prevent theft.
An official told Dawn that incidents of motorcycle theft have increased since manufacturers raised prices, attracting organized crime gangs who consider it “the most profitable business in town”.
He said that in recent meetings, senior police officers had discussed the issue and observed that one of the main reasons for bicycle theft was the decades-old security locks/security devices that thieves had easily access to break them in seconds or minutes.
“The steering locks on the bikes were so compromised and weak that they can also be overcome with a firm kick,” the manager said. He said the criminals then took the help of the “cheap circuit board” to connect some wires to “start the bikes”.
Talking about another faulty bike safety lock mechanism, he said a police officer protested in the presence of some senior police officers when he applied some keys and unlocked 10 bikes of different brands. Police observed that manufacturers were not improving the safety features of bicycles. bike prices over Rs10,000. They said the companies had introduced several new safety features in the cars. However, no such measures have been taken to prevent bike theft which can be ensured by investing “a small sum” of Rs 3,000-5,000 in introducing new security features.
Capt Sohail Chaudhry, retired from DIG Operations, raised the issue with the companies. In separate letters, he addressed the general sales managers of Atlas Honda Ltd, United Auto Industries and Road Prince.
“It is understood that your company is one of the biggest selling brands of motorcycles in the country and lately the theft of motorcycles in the city has reached a serious level and the security devices installed on your motorcycles are not of no use in preventing motorcycle theft,” reads the letter written by DIG.
He said the Lahore police are trying their best to minimize the theft of motorcycles and being the biggest motorcycle manufacturer, it is your primary responsibility to cooperate and play your decisive role.
“So it is suggested that you install battery safety devices in your motorcycles and delegate a responsible focal person from your company to the designated police officer of Lahore Police to discuss the improvement of safety devices for the security of property of the general public,” the DIG said.
The official source said that the Lahore police have decided to have the companies’ manufacturing licenses revoked if they do not respond to the suggestion. To this end, the police department would engage the Punjab government to activate relevant departments, he said.
He also shared official figures on bike theft which painted a dismal picture in the provincial capital where more than 10 million motorbikes were in use. He said that according to estimated figures, an average of 90 motorbikes per day were stolen. He said the recovery percentage of stolen bikes was almost 50%. Although this is an encouraging percentage compared to the burden of crime against motorcycles, the police authorities want to increase it to 80 to 90%, he said.
In the police file, he said, 1.5 million vehicles, including cars, rickshaws, vans and motorbikes, were stolen in the provincial capital. Of these, he added, 90% were motorcycles.
He said Balochsitan was the biggest market for stolen bikes as most of them were sold there at ridiculous prices of between Rs25,000 and Rs30,000.
“At present, around 30 gangs of bicycle theft criminals are operating in Lahore,” the source said.
Posted in Dawn, June 24, 2022