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An Garda Síochána warn of rise in theft of second-hand imported Cars

Issue Date: 17 February 2023

Statistics from An Garda Síochána show an increase in Car Theft / Unauthorised Taking of a Vehicle offences.

With over 4,000 vehicles reported stolen in 2022, theft of vehicles continue to show a significant increase, a 52% increase on 2021 and 17% increase on 2019.

This is driven by the theft of second-hand imported cars from outside the European market, which may be due to the lack of security features in the most commonly stolen imported vehicles.

For instance, many second-hand car imports do not have a fully fitted car alarm system or are without a fitted immobiliser. This makes them vulnerable to hot-wiring. If the model has a keyless ignition it has proven possible to pick up a signal from the key fob from within the house where it is parked.

Sergeant Mark Bolger, Garda National Crime Prevention Office, said,

"Car theft especially that of second-hand imported vehicles is on the rise. Car buyers and owners can take actions to decrease the risk of the theft of their vehicle. Cars imported from international markets are not automatically manufactured with the same security features as cars manufactured for the European market.

"We urge buyers and owners of vehicles to confirm the security features of import vehicles, especially to check if there is an in-built immobiliser and to consider additional security options.”

Safety advice:

  • Buyers should check the security features of their vehicles and make decisions relating to augmenting security
  • For cars without an immobiliser, additional steering wheel lock or chain should be considered

General vehicle security advice is:

  • Do not leave valuables on show
  • Lock doors and fully close windows
  • Fit an alarm
  • Retrofit an Immobiliser or use a physical lock
  • Install a tracker Use physical security features such as a steering wheel lock and catalytic converter lock
  • Fit theft-resistant number plate fittings Park under streetlights
  • Park where there is CCTV when possible