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Crime Prevention - increase in car thefts

On this month’s Crimecall, Sergeant Deirdre O’Neill was in studio discussing the increase in car thefts and advice on how to prevent this from happening. 

Theft of vehicles has increased significantly during 2022 with over 4,000 vehicles stolen and it would seem 2023 would be continuing this trend to date.  Theft of vehicles reported in 2022 show that 38% of incidents occurred at residential locations.

When the last 12 months (23-Mar-2022 to 22-Mar-2023) are compared to the same period in 2021/2022, there has been an increase of 37%. 

Some of the makes of vehicles that have been stolen do not conform to EU specifications.  Since 1998 immobilisers are fitted on all new cars for sale in the EU and these work by restricting an essential component part of the engine unless the correct key is used to try and start the car. It has been very effective in reducing car theft.

So if you have a vehicle without an immobiliser you can have it retro fitted and usually for under €300 euro depending on the type.  Many immobilizers now work with an alarm, so if an attempt is made the car won’t start and the alarm will sound.

There are also other security devices that you can fit to protect your vehicles

Steering wheel locks – these work by simply locking onto the steering wheel and this prevents the steering wheel being turned.  There are lots of versions of these available and they also act as a deterrent as they are mostly bright yellow so are clearly visible from outside the car.

There are also external wheel lock or clamps which fit onto the wheel of the car. Handbrake locks, gear stick locks and pedal locks which often have an alarm as a function of the lock.

 All these items act a deterrent and can make your vehicle unattractive for the car thief. 

Keyless Entry

With more modern cars with Keyless entry we have seen relay signal thefts.  This is where the signal of the key is mimicked and used to gain entry to the car. 

Relay signal

You can protect your property by using a Faraday bags ( I have one to show ) or a faraday  box or even a biscuit tin to store your keys at home.  These work by restricting the radio signal from being emitted from the key and reduce the risk of it being copied. 

Trackers – again as featured previously 

Theft from Cars

We have also seen an increase in thefts from cars and again best advice is to lock and double check the security of the doors.  If you have to store valuable items in the vehicle consider enhancing the locking systems – house alarm sensor can be fitted to the vehicle. For work vans you could consider and internal cage type door.

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
  • Leave expensive property at home, if not required
  • Do not leave valuables on show - A good idea is to leave an empty glove box open, showing would-be criminals that there is nothing for them to steal.
  • Lock doors and fully close windows. Don’t be tempted to leave the windows slightly open.
  • Fit an alarm
  • Fit an Immobiliser or use a physical lock
  • Install a tracker
  • Use catalytic convertor lock
  • Park under streetlights or in a secure car park
  • Park where there is CCTV, when possible
  • Fit theft-resistant number plate fittings

Crime Prevention - Sergeant Deirdre O’Neill