An Garda Síochána is appealing to motorists to park smart as new figures show one third of all vehicles broken into in residential areas had been left unlocked by the owner.
Figures from the Garda Analysis Service 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 12 midnight and 7am. Such thefts are happening throughout the country.
On average, more than €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 to all vehicle owners to ensure they lock their vehicle no matter where it is parked and to not store valuables in the car or at the very least 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.”
Mr Courtney explained there are measures to be taken in ensuring your vehicle is secure from needless theft.
“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,” he said.
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 vehicle keys is to avoid leaving them on the hall table or near a door/window where they can be easily taken, and secure doors and windows at all times.