Concerns raised regarding increase in thefts from vehicles

Westmeath’s Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant John Connolly, has expressed concern regarding an increase in the number of thefts taking place from vehicles.

Comparing the month of May, 2016, with the same month this year, Sgt Connolly said there is cause for concern.

“I have done a brief analysis for the public on the locations, times, and types of items being taken,” Sgt Connolly said. “For example, in relation to items taken, handbags (five ), tools (four ) and mobile phones (four ) were all targetted, with cash and a laptop making up the rest of the incidents.”

Sgt Connolly said the vast majority of locations targeted were housing estates, with nine such instances recorded. The remaining vulnerable locations were church car parks, hotel car parks and leisure areas, including walking or lake parking areas. Almost a half of the thefts involved vehicles being left open.

“An Garda Síochána are conscious of the fact that criminals going into housing estates can have a choice of numerous cars to check on depending on the estate size,” Sgt Connolly added. “To counteract this, Westmeath Gardaí are now performing traffic stops in estates as well as plain clothes patrols.”

In relation to preventing thefts from cars, Sgt Connolly offered the following advice to the public:

Lock your cars whether in your driveway or elsewhere; park in a location with good natural surveillance or electronic surveillance; do not leave items visible or covered over on your seat; report suspicious activity; use lit-up areas; be conscious of your surroundings when moving things to and from the car; double check that your car is locked before walking away from it; do not always depend solely on the remote control feature.

For further advice contact the local community policing unit or Sgt John Connolly on (044 ) 9384000. Alternatively, www.garda.ie has good advice in relation to this type of theft.

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