One third of vehicles broken into are left unlocked

Gardaí make an appeal to vehicle owners

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

One third of vehicles broken into are left unlocked

One third of vehicles broken into are left unlocked

An Garda Síochána is appealing to motorists to 'park smart ' and lock their vehicles as new figures show that one-third of all vehicles broken into in residential areas had been left unlocked by the owner.

This issue of thefts from vehicles, particularly vans, has been an issue in Offaly in recent months. Just last week, a 19-year-old was charged with a spate of such thefts in one night in the Cloghan area.

SEE ALSO: Teenager charged after thefts from 12 cars in Offaly

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.

The analysis also shows that the most common location for these thefts was in driveways, and that half of the thefts occurred between 12midnight and 7am. Such thefts are happening throughout the country.

On average, over €340,000 worth of property was stolen from vehicles each year. Property stolen included cash, laptops, tools, sunglasses, jewellery and sports equipment.

Gardaí are appealing for all vehicle owners to ensure they lock their vehicle no matter where it is parked. Do not store valuables in the car, but if you do have to, keep them out of sight.

Sgt Kelvin Courtney from the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence said, "Wherever you park your car or van, we would always advise you to take your property with you and ensure the vehicle is locked, alarmed and parked in a secure, well-lit location.

Speaking on Monday night's Crimecall programme on RTE, Laois-Offaly's Crime Prevention Officer, Graham Kavanagh, made a similar appeal, urging people to lock their vehicles at night and to refrain from leaving valuable in the vehicles if possible. 

"Many of these thefts, particularly at residential locations, are avoidable with an average of 33% of vehicles being left unlocked in the last three years. Unfortunately, this poor practice has risen as 38% 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," Sgt Courtney commented.

"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. Reduce the payoff to the thief by marking and photographing the property and take a record of serial numbers, makes and models. Download the household property register for free from the Garda Website for your records.”

According to the Garda Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit, the vast majority of cars illegally entered or stolen from are done so using the vehicle’s key. The vast majority of vehicles stolen continue to be taken with keys obtained in burglaries.

An Garda Síochána’s advice surrounding any vehicle keys would always be to avoid leaving them on the hall table or near a door/window where they could be easily taken.

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