GANGS of youths are increasingly targeting city housing estates at night to steal from cars.
The latest figures from Cork city’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) show that thefts from vehicles have risen by a startling 23% this year - 564 incidents up until the end of October.
Anglesea Street Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin has warned that opportunistic youngsters are now targeting housing estates after dark and he has advised people not to leave valuables in their cars or keys that may allow access to homes.
He said: “People are leaving their vehicles unlocked and we have gangs of youths, primarily underage - although some of them are over age now - visiting estates at night time.
"I have said before that people need to be vigilant and report suspicious activity but particularly lock their vehicles and don’t leave valuables in their cars or spare keys. Particularly house keys or emergency keys in the glove box.
“We have had a number of incidents in adjoining divisions in the last 10 days of young criminals going out from Cork city to the county at night time,” he added.
Gardaí at Anglesea Street have been successful in reducing theft crime in other areas.
Thefts from the person are up 12% but thefts from shops have fallen by 12% to just 1373 incidents this year.
Thefts of bicycles have also fallen by 11% to 218 incidents but instances of criminals handling stolen property have risen by 44% to 39 cases in 2019.
Mr McPolin said there has also been an increasing trend in fraud.
“We have seen an increase in the level of fraudulent incidents including bogus tradesmen, accommodation fraud, invoices, tap and go cards and telephone fraudsters looking for details,” he added.
It has now been confirmed that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will attend the next meeting of the Cork city JPC on February 3.
Mr Harris is expected to address concerns over the level of Garda resources in the city.
For the Christmas period, 32 new Gardaí have been assigned to the city and eight will be retained with the rest being assigned to other counties from January.
Mr McPolin described recent media coverage regarding Garda numbers in Cork as “unhelpful” and “negative commentary”.