Motor vehicle theft is a problem that is growing in the border town of Phuentsholing. In the last two years, more than 10 vehicles were stolen from the town. Of the 10 Bolero pickup trucks that were stolen from the town, not one has been recovered.
What can be safely said is that the stolen vehicles go across the border. Once the stolen vehicle crosses the border, it is difficult to track.
Phuentsholing has rapidly gown in recent years and aching for space. It is difficult to find a parking space, especially in the town area. And that’s from where most of the vehicles are stolen. K B Gurung, a driver of a private company based in Thimphu, is yet to hear from the police. The Bolero he had parked near the old taxi parking area around 7pm was missing when he returned.
What is remarkably wonderful is that the border gate doesn’t have a single CCTV which could help track vehicle movements. In a recent vehicle theft case Bhutanese police had to go through CCTV footage provided by their counterparts across the border. The vehicle was not detected, however. What this means is that thieves are using routes that are easy for them to get away. Plausibly, the miscreants use the Amochhu bank to avoid checkpoints at the main gate and the one at the Chinese Lane.
The thromde has taken preventive measures like digging a trench along this area, but there is clearly more that we ought to do. We could, for instance, intensify police presence and vigil, especially at the weaker and porous parts of the town.
More importantly, as vehicle owners, we could also employ certain safety systems to prevent theft. Installing a starter interrupt switch or kill switch is not expensive. Steering wheel lock and anti-theft clutch bar are widely used devices that have proven their worth in places where auto theft is rampant. A little bit of investment on such mechanisms can be more than worth the effort and money.