Rise in tuk-tuk thefts in southern Baghdad
BAGHDAD, January 30 – Tuk-tuk thefts are on the rise,with one area – Amara Village, near Al-Rasheed in South Baghdad – witnessing four incidents reported in just one week.
This surge in thefts has led many tuk-tuk owners to implement sophisticated GPS tracking systems to safeguard their vehicles.
The increasing frequency of these thefts has instilled fear among tuk-tuk drivers, compelling them to adopt extraordinary preventative measures. Even with the adoption of advanced technology and the use of unnumbered wheels registered with the Traffic Directorate, the thefts continue unabated.
Bilal Sahib, a local tuk-tuk driver, shared his insights with 964media. “There’s been a noticeable uptick in thefts recently, which might be attributed to a new criminal group operating in our neighborhood,” he stated. Sahib, along with three fellow drivers, fell victim to tuk-tuk thefts at night over the past week, leading them to report the incidents to the police. Due to the high prevalence of tuk-tuks in Baghdad, however, recovering a stolen vehicle is often a futile effort, as security forces struggle to identify and locate the specific tuk-tuk.
Despite the implementation of a numbering system for tuk-tuks, it has not effectively deterred thefts. Thieves frequently remove these numbers and proceed to either sell the vehicles at half their original value or dismantle them for parts, often using social media platforms for these transactions. Sahib, who is compelled to park his tuk-tuk on the street due to limited space at home, believes this exposes his vehicle to a higher risk of theft.
Sajad Mohammed, another tuk-tuk driver, also conveyed his apprehensions to 964media. As the primary provider for his family of seven, Mohammed is deeply concerned about the potential impact of a theft on his livelihood. In response to the growing threat, he has installed a GPS tracker on his tuk-tuk. Like many others, he has resorted to using chains and additional locks as extra deterrents against theft.
A Baghdad Police representative told 964media that while tuk-tuk and bike thefts are prevalent, their recovery is challenging. This difficulty is exacerbated by the sheer number of these vehicles and the fact that many owners do not adhere to the Traffic Directorate’s vehicle numbering requirements. While there’s a possibility of recovering numbered vehicles, tracing or proving ownership of unnumbered ones is nearly impossible.