GARDAI are appealing to motorists to park smart, especially at this time of year, as figures show that €30.6m worth of items such as tools, cash, sunglasses, electronics and jewellery have been stolen from vehicles over the past four years.
Figures from the Garda Analysis Service show that 46,582 vehicles were broken into since January 2016. For 8,157 of these, the vehicle was reported to have been unlocked. A total of 314, or 0.7% of them, were in West Cork.
Of the 12,343 vehicles broken into outside homes, 3,833 are reported to have been unlocked – that’s almost one in every three. The analysis also shows that the most common location for these thefts are in driveways, and that most common times are between 12midnight and 6am.
West Cork crime prevention officer Sgt James O’Donovan said: ‘What is happening now is criminals will go around areas like housing estates and streets where lots of cars are parked up and they will try every car door because they know we are leaving some of them unlocked. Let’s not make it easy for these criminals, make sure to lock your vehicle every time.
‘Wherever you park your vehicle, we would always advise you take your property with you and ensure the vehicle is locked, alarmed and parked in a secure, well-lit location. Try not to leave any valuables in the car whatsoever.
‘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.
‘Try marking and photographing your property and take a record of serial numbers, makes and models,’ he said, adding that a property register booklet can be downloaded from www.garda.ie.
‘This will not only deter a criminal from taking your property, but it means if we recover the stolen items, we can get them back to you,’ he said. Gardai also advise against leaving keys on the hall table or near a door/window where they could be easily taken.