Motorists urged to be vigilant after huge increase in car thefts in Cork City

Motorists urged to be vigilant after huge increase in car thefts in Cork City

Reports of thefts of vehicles have increased by 138% in the year to date, when compared to last year. Picture: Istock

Motorists have been urged to be vigilant when it comes to the security of their vehicles after a massive spike in vehicle thefts this year.

Reports of thefts of vehicles have increased by 138% in the year to date when compared to last year. 

Chief superintendent Tom Myers, told a meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) that theft/ unauthorised taking of vehicles is an issue that’s causing gardaí “a lot of concern in the city at the moment”.

Japanese imports, as highlighted at the previous JPC meeting, continue to be a particular target for thieves, chief supt Myers said.

Gardaí previously said that thieves are targeting specific makes and models of vehicles imported from the Asian market, because those cars are not fitted with immobilisers.

Chief supt Myers said the issue is affecting “all corners of the city” but that gardaí are doing a lot of work to crack down on the matter.

Crime prevention officer for Cork City Garda Division, Sergeant Brian McSweeney, said registered owners with cars being targeted have been written to, advising them of how best to protect their vehicles.

He particularly encouraged car owners to invest in a “good quality steering lock” to deter thieves.

Gardaí, he said, are also monitoring “where the cars are being taken from and where they’re ending up”.

“We’re putting patrols in place, we’ve had some successes. We’ve also created, through the intelligence section, we have a list of suspects of people who are taking these cars and they’re being targeted and watched as well.

“It’s a problem in a number of divisions across the country, not many, but unfortunately we are one.

“But we’re getting places,” he said.

Overall, figures presented at the meeting showed that property crime in the city is up 72% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Interfering with a vehicle with intent to steal a vehicle or item in it, is up 294% so far this year in comparison to the same period last year.

Chief supt Myers said he would like to remind the public to ensure their vehicles are locked at all times and that valuables are not left visible.

Overall, crime rates in the city across a variety of areas were up on the comparable period last year.

This includes an 11% increase in reported incidents of rapes and sexual assaults; a 23% increase in incidents of criminal damage and a 12% increase in public order offences.

However, chief supt Myers cautioned that the current figures related to the first nine months of 2022 and were compared to the figures for the first nine months of last year, when, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was in varying levels of lockdown.

In relation to serious crimes, the chief superintendent said crime rates in Cork City are lower compared to other cities.

“When it comes to our statistics, Cork is doing very well in relation to serious crime, in particular,” he said.

“When we look at what’s going on around other cities, we are in a good place, despite the challenges we have.”

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