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'They will try every door': One third of all cars broken into in residential areas left unlocked

Gardaí estimate that over €30 million worth of items has been stolen from vehicles since January 2016.

Image: Shutterstock/Casa nayafana

NEW FIGURES HAVE indicated that almost one-third of all vehicles broken into outside homes in Ireland over the past four years had been left unlocked by the owner.

Figures from An Garda Síochána show that since January 2016, 12,343 vehicles parked outside homes were broken into. Of those, 3,833 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 6am across the country.

Since January 2016, Gardaí estimate that over €30 million worth of items – including tools, cash, sunglasses, electronics and jewellery – were stolen from 46,582 vehicles. 

Gardaí – launching the ‘Park Smart’ awareness campaign today – are advising people to avoid leaving keys on hall tables or near a door or window where they could be easily taken, to lock their vehicle regardless of where it is parked and to not store valuables inside. 

The regional breakdown of thefts from vehicles in Ireland since January 2016 is:

  • Dublin Eastern: 3,122
  • Dublin North Central: 2,712 
  • Dublin Northern: 5,665
  • Dublin South Central: 3,185
  • Dublin Southern: 3,721
  • Dublin Western: 5,756
  • Kildare: 1,933
  • Kilkenny-Carlow: 717
  • Laois-Offaly: 1,044
  • Meath: 1,901
  • Waterford: 616
  • Westmeath: 605
  • Wexford: 777
  • Wicklow: 2,209
  • Cavan-Monaghan: 528
  • Donegal: 349
  • Galway: 1,248
  • Louth: 1,427
  • Mayo: 504
  • Roscommon-Longford: 407
  • Sligo-Leitrim: 495                                                                                                               
  • Clare: 840
  • Cork City: 2,249
  • Cork North: 687
  • Cork West: 314
  • Kerry: 461
  • Limerick: 2,329
  • Tipperary: 782 

Speaking today, Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant 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 to 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,” said O’Donovan. 

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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. Additional locking mechanisms to vehicles should be fitted,” he said. 

O’Donovan said that vehicle owners should consider a monitored vehicle alarm and tracking device for valuable property as well as marking and photographing property. 

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