Many people leave their handbags, cellphones and laptops inside their cars, which are sometimes parked in secluded areas where security is poor.
The Supreme Court order banning the use of sun films has created anxiety in the minds of the public as well as a section of police officers who feel that the move could lead to an increase in certain types of crimes.
While the Supreme Court order comes as a safety measure to prevent some serious crimes such as kidnapping, car owners feel that the removal of films would encourage other crimes, particularly thefts. Over the years, incidents of smashing/removing the windscreens of cars and, stealing music systems and other valuables, particularly laptops, have been rampant in Bangalore. Petty criminals breaking car glass and stealing cash and valuables on the dashboards is also common.
Many people leave their handbags, cellphones and laptops inside their cars, which are sometimes parked in secluded areas where security is poor. With the removal of sun filters, such thefts are bound to increase as the interiors of the car would be fully visible, a police official said.
Removal of the sun film also exposes the car occupants. Women, particularly those driving alone at night, could become easy targets for criminals. Several women employees of ITeS firms, who work in night shifts, could find themselves vulnerable, said the official.
However, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime-East) B. Dayananda said that removal of sun films was aimed at enhancing safety of car passengers. The chances of rescuing victims of kidnaps or other crimes committed inside a car would be more if the vehicle's glass isn't darkened.
The authorities' stance is that the road is a public place and hence all activities should be visible to the public. Whether car glasses have sun films or not, owners should ensure that their vehicles are secured. They should not leave any valuables inside the cars and, always park at designated parking lots which are usually guarded, Mr. Dayananda said.
Meanwhile, the manner in which the traffic police are enforcing the court order has come under flak. A senior police officer, who had a long stint in the city's traffic wing earlier, wondered why Bangalore traffic police were in so much haste to enforce the ban when the Supreme Court had not given any deadline. The court had only said the rule would be applicable from May 4, he pointed out.
Removal of sun films should not be the priority of the traffic police as their main task is to regulate and ensure smooth flow of vehicles. For that matter, there are provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act and Rules that remain unenforced, he pointed out.