Daylight robbery: brazen thief rips off car at hospital
This is a scene of casual theft and lawlessness played out daily in Dublin city centre. At 1.45pm yesterday, in broad daylight outside the Rotunda maternity hospital and in front of queues of people waiting for buses in Parnell Square, this man breaks into a Galway-registered Toyota Rav car.
Our photographer, on a routine job, raises his camera on hearing the sound of breaking glass as the robber uses a hammer to shatter the driver-side car window. The small red hammer has almost certainly been stolen from either a Dublin bus or LUAS tram where they are part of the emergency escape equipment.
In a matter of seconds the broken window is prised out and he reaches in to the car and takes a satellite navigation device, turns and walks calmly across the square in the direction of Moore Street.
The man had an accomplice, a woman standing across the street, who shouted at him as soon as she saw our photographer recording the event. Other people in the queue shouted at him to stop but the robber carried on oblivious to their calls.
The satnav and the red emergency hammer can be clearly seen in the man's hands as he walks away from the car.
The damage to the car could cost hundreds of euros to fix along with the implications for a no-claims bonus. The thief, gardai say, is unlikely to get more than €10 or €15 for a piece of equipment that probably cost around €100.
This is the type of low-value, high-quantity crime that accounts for more than 90 per cent of Ireland's 100,000-plus larcenies and robberies a year. Dublin city centre and particularly the Dublin 1 area north of the Liffey is the epicentre of such crime in Ireland with thousands of such larcenies every year. Dublin 1 has 15 drug treatment centres attracting into the city centre thousands of addicts, who are responsible for a high proportion of larcenies.
Dublin business people have repeatedly called for a clampdown on the daily influx of addicts and the unrelenting thefts and robberies. There is no sign of any major effort being made by any government agency to stop the tide of crime in the nation's capital.