Gardai in Cork believe they have dismantled an organised car-theft gang which was behind a spate of incidents in the city and suburbs in recent months.
But they have renewed their advice to people to lock their cars after it emerged that 20 of 24 cars broken into in the Cork City Garda Division over just three nights last week were unlocked.
The details emerged during a meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
Garda statistics for the period January 1 to March 31 show property crime is up 1% for the period compared to the same period last year, with increases in the sub-categories including robbery from the person, up 46%, theft from the person, up 25%, and theft from a vehicle, which is up 15% to 188 reported incidents compared to 166 for the same period last year.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said there has been some progress in relation to investigations into the theft from cars in Bishopstown, Carrigaline and Togher areas in recent months.
He said a garda operation, codenamed Joyrider, had identified that a gang based on the northside of the city was involved in an organised operation to steal from cars, and stealing cars.
Detectives identified several suspects and made several arrests, including several juveniles aged from 16.
Some have been before the courts and jailed, others have been charged and have strict bail conditions, including curfews, imposed pending court appearances, and others are awaiting decisions from the DPP.
Property has also been recovered, he said.
But Chief Supt McPolin said in recent days, seven of eight vehicles targeted by criminals in the Carrigaline area were unlocked, and of 24 vehicles targeted across the division in the space of three nights last, 20 were unlocked.
Crime Prevention Officer, Sgt Tony Davis, said the advice from gardaí is simple.
Lock your cars. It's a simple thing to say really. Despite big campaigns, people don't seem to be listening. Until people are victims of this type of crime themselves, they don't seem to learn.
Figures presented to the JPC also show that theft of bikes is down 26% since January 1 compared to the same period last year - down from 61 incidents to 45.