Third of cars broken into had been left unlocked, say gardai
Nearly a third of vehicles that were broken into over the past four years had been left unlocked, gardai have revealed.
In most cases, the thefts - which added up to €30.6m worth of valuables - took place in the owners' own driveway while they slept between midnight and 6am.
A large number of the offences between January 2016 and the start of this month took place in the Greater Dublin Area, where 24,161 individual thefts from vehicles were reported.
The biggest number took place in the Western Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), with 5,756 or 12.4pc of thefts, and in the Northern DMR with 5,665 or 12.2pc of thefts.
Money, tools, electronic devices, jewellery and sunglasses were taken from 46,582 vehicles since January 2016.
In 8,157 of these incidents, at least one of the vehicles' doors had been left unlocked, according to the Garda Analysis Service.
It revealed that nearly one in every three of the 12,343 vehicles that were broken into outside the owner's home had also been left unlocked.
During a press conference in Co Cork yesterday, which saw a spate of 37 car thefts in only a few days last month, gardai launched their new Park Smart campaign.
They are urging motorists to not only ensure their cars are locked at all times, but to avoid storing valuables in sight, which makes them easy targets for thieves.
If valuables, such as Christmas gifts, have to be temporarily stored in a vehicle, gardai said it was important to keep them in the boot or otherwise out of sight.
"What is happening now is criminals will go around areas like housing estates and streets where lots of cars are parked and they will try every car door because they know we are leaving some of them unlocked," crime prevention officer Sgt James O Donovan said.
"Let's not make it easy for these criminals. Make sure to lock your vehicle every time.
"Wherever you park your vehicle, we would always advise you to take your property with you and ensure the vehicle is locked, alarmed and parked in a secure, well-lit location.
"Try not to leave any valuables in the car whatsoever.
"Sometimes it is impractical to remove tools and equipment from vehicles, so owners should take extra steps to ensure the safety of their property.
"Additional locking mechanisms to vehicles should be fitted. Consider a monitored vehicle alarm and tracking devices for valuable property."