It is shocking to note that there are about 38 vehicles that are stolen every day, in the Kingdom. While this rate is quite high, the police only manage to recover only half of these cars. This was the information released by the Al-Hayat newspaper, based on the information and official figures form Ministry of Interior.
According to authorities, this is a very dangerous type of crime and not in terms of the theft only, but other grave issues. The car may be used for terrorist activities and this may spell serious danger. In the last few years, there has been a rampant increase in the car theft cases. This has become the highest and most common type of crime in the Kingdom.
Based on the information that was released by Interior Ministry 2016, there were approximately 1,134 cars that were stolen in the month of January. According to the statement issued by the Ministry of Interior, most of the car crimes are committed in the major cities like Jeddah, Riyadh, Madinah, Dammam, Riyadh and Makkah among others.
In 2014, there were 15,000 cars that got stolen, while in 2013 9,000 cars were stolen and the police only recovered 4,600 of them. This is a success rate of about 46% as far as recovery of stolen cars is concerned.
Once a car is stolen the thieves usually change the plate number and overall appearance of the so as to sell it. In some cases, the car is dismantled and is sold in different pieces and parts. There are other criminals who use stolen cars for joy riding and drifting, but in most cases, the stolen vehicles are used to for terrorist activities.
There is a school of thought that believes that the high rate of car thefts is as a result of the poor security patrol on the streets. Other people believe that the crime rate has increased to the reluctance of the police to act on car theft reports swiftly.
There is another group of observers who think that the high rise in car thefts is as a result of the car owners failing to report as soon as the car is stolen. Most of the car owners assume that the police would not take the matter seriously and as such, they find it pointless to report.
In January 2016, Prince Naif Arab University for Security Sciences conducted a study and this revealed negligence on the part of the car owners, unemployment and drifting as the main factors that are causing the high rise in car thefts in Riyadh. In addition, the report discovered that there is a weak, or no proper system to monitor the spare part shops and this may be the reason behind the high rate of car thefts.
The study suggested some possible remedies to this menace, with have surveillance cameras installed on the streets, being a top priority. There was also an appeal to the relevant authorities to use modern technology to be able to pursue the issues of the stolen cars.
In the year 2014, the Eastern Province Police has established a gang, which included a number of Saudis who has stolen 12 cars. This gang has an objective of playing with the cars and then burning them down, at the end of the day. The Makkah Police, on the other hand, apprehended a gang of 5 Saudi national, aged between 16 and 22 years, who has stolen and burned down 53 cars, in the same year.
There was a gang of young African expats aged between 14 and 18 years, who were arrested in Jeddah, for stealing 18 cars. In this year, there were 7 expat workers who were arrested in Riyadh for stealing and selling parts of luxury cars.
In the last days of 2014, the police force in Jazan arrested a gang of 10 thieves, who had a woman as the ring leader. The gang would lure drivers to leave their cars and this was a perfect opportunity for the gang to steal the cars that were left with the engine running.
The citizens with special needs have also joined these criminal activities, and 3 of them were arrested in Tabuk. This mob would steal cars, change the features and hid the cars behind a hillock.
According to the Ministry of Justice, there were 1,433 car theft cases that got to the courts in 2014.
Source: Saudi Gazette