Parking practice to blame for Salt Lake wheel thefts

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Kolkata: The car wheel thefts in Salt Lake has highlighted a problem that has been ailing the township for over two decades — car owners’ practice of parking their vehicles in the alleys and on the pavements outside their houses.
While cops and civic authorities have repeatedly asked residents to desist from parking their vehicles outside, residents cite a variety of reasons — such as lack of space and difficulty in driving in and out of garages — to continue parking on the streets. Car wheel thefts, though uncommon, is not unprecedented in the township.
Last year, the left front and rear wheels of a hatchback parked in CB Block had been stolen. The incident had been reported to Bidhannagar (North) PS. Similar incidents had been reported at the Bidhannagar East police station in 2013. Prior to that, thefts of car stereo after breaking the window panes was common in the township.
On Thursday, two Class-XII dropouts fled with three sets of wheels each from three sedans in AE Block and CG Blocks in Salt Lake leaving the cars stranded on a stack of bricks and its owners perplexed. The thieves were later arrested by the cops when they attempted another theft at DL Block in the early hours of Friday. It turned out that they targeted Salt Lake localities because the township has a large number of cars parked on the roads in open, unlike in other parts of Kolkata.
“We have repeatedly asked the residents to not to park their vehicles on the road. However, they continue to park in alleys where the traffic density is less. We occasionally book them,” a senior officer of Bidhannagar City Police said.
Ameet Gupta, whose car’s wheels were also stolen from outside his house at CG Block early on Thursday, said he has no choice but to park his car on the road as he lives on rent on the first floor of a three-storeyed building. The apartment owner does not allow him to park his car in the compound.
A BF Block resident said he has a garage space for only one car. But as he owns two vehicles, he parks one of them on the pavement outside his house. “I know this is illegal, but that is the norm in Salt Lake,” said Dipak Bose, who owns a gold shop.
Some locals pointed out to the lack of parking space, while others said that their garage space was used to house caretakers.