Retailers and shoppers warned to brace themselves for sharp rise in thefts over Christmas
Thieves are targeting 50 cars parked in retail car parks each month.
Gardai are encouraging people to remain vigilant when shopping in the run up to Christmas.
Some €400,000 worth of goods was stolen from shoppers’ cars in Ireland last year.
The figures show theft is most common on Tuesdays and Fridays between 12 noon and 6pm.
Cash, electronic sand handbags are the most common items taken.
The average value stolen each time was €600.
Many of the thefts are “avoidable” according to gardai and they have appealed for people to improve their security as they do their Christmas shopping this month.
"Customers should be careful while shopping. Always park in well-lit and secure areas. When you leave your car, lock all doors and windows and double check to make sure,” Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Bureau of Community Engagement Unit said.
“Don’t leave property or cash on view, take it with you.”
Shoppers are also a target while inside the shops with mobile phones topping the list of common items stolen from people in store. “
Handbags are being targeted when left in trolleys or hanging on buggies. The handbag itself isn’t always the item that is taken, sometimes objects within the handbag are targeted too and often they are not immediately noticed missing by the owner,” Sgt Courtney said.
Gardai are also appealing for the public’s help to stamp out shoplifting which adds 3pc to the price of goods.
Shoplifting last Christmas costs around €55m – more than a fifth of the total €255m lost due to stealing.
Groceries, alcohol, clothing and cosmetics are the most commonly stolen items and Thursday to Saturday between 12 noon and 6pm are the most common times for theft.
Retailers are urged to “make it difficult” for thieves with increased security measures.
Clinics will be held throughout the country during December where gardai will advise people on public safety.