Gardaí are warning motorists to be extra vigilant when parking their car at beauty spots this summer, ahead of a predicted rise in vehicle break-ins.
Items worth a total of €36m were stolen from parked vehicles around Ireland between 2016 and 2020.
According to new Garda figures, such break-ins are more likely to occur during the summer months between 2pm and 7pm, while the car is parked at a location associated with outdoor activities such as hiking, hill walking, or visiting the beach.
On average, €330 worth of cash was stolen in each of these incidents.
Overall, the average value of cash and property taken in the break-ins was €660, with car accessories, jewellery, electronics and tools the items most often reported stolen.
Though theft from cars last year fell by 22% compared to the previous year, gardaí said the easing of Covid-19 restrictions over the coming weeks would likely see more thefts reported.
As such, they are advising Irish motorists to take appropriate steps to secure their vehicles during visits to coastal and scenic locations.
“We anticipate the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions will see increased opportunities for criminals to take advantage of us as we holiday here in Ireland this summer,” said crime prevention officer, Sergeant Der Leetch.
With 60% of thefts from vehicles at locations associated with outdoor activities occurring in summer months and an increase in people holidaying in Ireland we are encouraging you to #ParkSmart and follow some of the crime prevention tips. For more info see https://t.co/KSYbuGNCih pic.twitter.com/Fkn1eqJ4mQ
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) July 8, 2021
“If you are travelling with your car to coastal and scenic areas this summer, plan your journey before you go. Check online if the location has a website or app with safety tips for visitors.”
Sgt Leetch said motorists should choose well-serviced and well-lit parking areas, if possible.
“Avoid carparks with signs of public disorder or criminal damage, such as broken glass,” she said.
As for valuables, Sgt Leetch’s advice was to leave them at home.
“It goes without saying that things like handbags, jackets, wallets, laptops, and shopping should never be left on view in the vehicle,” she said.
Sgt Leetch said other preventative measures motorists could take would be to leave their car’s glove compartment open to “show would-be criminals there is nothing to steal”, and to check all windows and doors are properly locked before leaving the parking area.
“Don’t be tempted to leave the windows slightly open.
“If you are the victim of a crime or if you see any suspicious activity call 999 or 112 and report it,” she added.