€340k a year stolen from unlocked cars
Thieves are making off with an average of €340,000 of valuables a year from vehicles that are left unlocked and parked in the owners' driveways, new figures reveal.
Shocking figures from the Garda Analysis Service reveal that of 8,571 cars that were broken into while parked at residential locations between 2015 and 2017, a third (2,824) were left unlocked.
The bulk of such robberies - 1,245 - took place in the greater Dublin area. The vast majority happened when the car was parked in the owner's driveway.
The most common time for such thefts was between the hours of midnight and 7am, when the majority of people would be asleep.
The analysis reveals that breaking into cars to steal valuables is a lucrative crime for thieves.
An average of €340,000 of property is stolen each year, with cash, laptop computers, tools, jewellery, sports equipment and expensive sunglasses the most common items stolen.
Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence in Dublin said people should not be complacent about leaving their cars unlocked - even when they are at home.
He also urged people not to leave valuables in their vehicles if they can avoid it.
However, if they must do so, they should always keep them out of sight and fit them with additional locking mechanisms or a monitored vehicle alarm and tracking device.
Sgt Courtney said many thefts are avoidable as around a third of cars that are broken into are unlocked.
"We've even seen cases where two vehicles from the same household were unlocked and broken into," he added.
People were also reminded not to leave car keys near a door or window.