herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Up to three parking meters a day robbed and damaged in city

Cllr Mannix Flynn
Cllr Mannix Flynn

Up to three parking meters a day are damaged or robbed in the capital, the Herald can reveal.

Figures released under Freedom of Information laws show that, between 2013 and 2015, there have been approximately 3,000 incidents - including vandalism, attempted robberies and robberies - of parking meters in the city.

This would average one incident per meter per year. There are over 1,000 meters in the Dublin City Council (DCC) area.

It has cost the council some €3.5m in repairs and maintenance costs in the same period, but DCC did not need to replace damaged meters.

In addition to damage caused by people attempting to rob cash from the meters, damage can also be caused to meters by people attempting to jam the coin slot, the council said.

A Dublin District Court heard last year that a parking meter at Francis Street had to be repaired at a cost of €7,000 to the local authority, as it was damaged so often. The shocking cost emerged during a court hearing where a man admitted his part in causing some €300 worth of damage to the meter.

Illie Capra (26) was ordered to cover the cost of the damage.

The court heard that gardai passed two men who were interfering with the meter on May 27, 2015. Both fled the scene, with one dropping a brick beside it.

The council refused to disclose where the most vandalised and targeted meters were, or how much has been stolen from them during the three years.

Security

To identify meters where offences were most common would "impair the prevention of offences and the security of property", the council told the Herald.

There are currently 1,062 pay and display machines in the city, which earn around €25m a year for the council.

An average of 200 vehicles are clamped every day according to separate data provided at the final monthly meeting of the city council last year.

Meters, which appear to be an easy target for crime, are being upgraded by the council for new ones with 'vandalism warranties'.

Councillor Mannix Flynn said that he will be asking for a full report into the vandalism and theft of DCC-owned parking meters.

"It beggars belief that this hasn't come up on the joint policing committees, or on the transport committee," he told the Herald.

"We need to know what areas are these machines being targeted in? We also need to know if there's a particular garda operation to tackle this.

"This isn't just about small crime - when you tot up the numbers it's quite substantial, so I think we need more information about what has been going on."

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