Sunday 15 July 2018

Gardai issue warning to motorists as most common location for car thefts revealed

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Rachel Farrell

Gardai are appealing to motorists to "park smart" as new figures reveal that one-third of all vehicles broken into in residential areas had been left unlocked by the owner.

Figures from the Garda Analysis Service released today show that 8,571 vehicles parked at residential locations were broken into between 2015 and 2017.

Of those, 2,824 were reported to be unlocked.

Half of the thefts took place between midnight and 7am, while the most common location for thefts was in driveways.

According to the figures, over €340,000 worth of property was stolen from vehicles each year, including cash, laptops, sunglasses, and sports equipment.

Dublin saw the most thefts, with 1,245 unlocked vehicles broken into between 2015 and 2017. The south-eastern area of the country saw a low of 141 thefts.

Sgt Kelvin Courtney from the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence advised car owners to make sure their vehicle is locked, alarmed and parked in a well-lit location.

“Many of these thefts, particularly at residential locations, are avoidable with an average of 33pc of vehicles being unlocked in the last three years. Unfortunately, this poor practice has risen as 38pc of vehicles were unlocked when they had property stolen from them in January 2018. We’ve even seen cases where two vehicles from the same household were unlocked and broken into,” he said.

"Sometimes it is impractical to remove tools and equipment from vehicles. In these cases, owners should take extra steps to ensure the safety of their property. Additional locking mechanisms to vehicles should be fitted. Consider a monitored vehicle alarm and tracking devices for valuable property.”

Sgt Courtney also recommended taking a note of serial numbers, makes and models, with a free household property register available to download from the Garda website.

The majority of cars illegally entered or stolen are done so using the key, according to the Garda Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit.

Gardaí recommend that vehicle owners should avoid leaving keys on the hall table or near doors and windows.

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