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One third of all cars broken into in residential areas left unlocked - Gardaí

Gardaí say that the vast majority of cars that were broken into or stolen from were done so using the key.

Image: Shutterstock

NEW FIGURES HAVE indicated that one third of all vehicles broken into in residential areas had been left unlocked by the owner, Gardaí said.

Figures from the Gardaí 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 midnight and 7am across the country.

The vast majority of cars illegally entered or stolen from are done so using the vehicle’s key, which is usually obtained in burglaries according to the Garda Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit.

Gardaí are advising people to avoid leaving keys on the hall table or near a door or window where they could be easily taken.

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.

The regional breakdown of thefts from unlocked vehicles between 2015 and 2017 is:

  • Dublin: 1,245
  • Eastern: 532
  • Southern: 411
  • Western: 261
  • Northern: 234
  • South Eastern: 141

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney from the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence said that many thefts from vehicles are “avoidable” and are  appealing to drivers to lock their vehicle no matter where it’s parked.

shutterstock_731679484 Source: Shutterstock

“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.

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“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.”

He advises drivers to take extra measures if possible:

Additional locking mechanisms to vehicles should be fitted.
Consider a monitored vehicle alarm and tracking devices for valuable property.
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.

Gardaí have also advised people to “reduce the payoff to thieves” by marking and photographing the property and take a record of serial numbers, makes and models of their property.

Read: Flanagan’s message to Kinahan cartel working abroad: ‘There is no hiding place’

Read: ‘The answer lies with the Polish community’: Gardaí ask for help finding man missing since 2014

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