Imported Japanese cars targeted as thefts surge in city

Imported Japanese cars targeted as thefts surge in city

Car thefts in Cork were described as featuring high on national figures, behind Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Louth.

Car thefts are at a seven-year high, senior gardaí have said, with Japanese imports being a particular target for thieves.

May of this year saw the most thefts of cars nationally in a single month since October of 2015, the June quarterly meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) was told this week.

Car thefts in Cork were described as featuring high on national figures, behind Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Louth.

Thieves are targeting specific makes and models of vehicles imported from the Asian market, because those cars are not fitted with immobilisers, the JPC meeting was told.

Gardaí declined to identify the specific makes or models of Asian imports being targeted by thieves, but said the vehicles were from Japan, and advised owners to invest in old-style steering locks to deter thieves.

The JPC was told there were 156 car thefts in the city in the first five months of 2021, representing a 164% increase on the same period last year, which saw 57 car thefts.

The first two quarters of 2022 saw an increase of 328% in reports of interference with vehicles with the intent to steal the vehicle or an item within it, jumping from 18 last year to 77 cases in the same period this year.

With crime figures for the city up almost across the board, Chief Superintendent Tom Myers, who is in charge of the Cork City division, stressed that figures for the first two quarters of 2021 reflected a time when, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was in varying stages of lockdown.

The crime figures for the first two quarters of 2022 were broadly in line with pre-pandemic figures, Chief Superintendent Myers told the JPC meeting, but he added that rises in specific categories of crimes were concerning.

GARDA INCREASE CALL

Thomas Gould, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central called for increases in garda numbers and initiatives to tackle anti-social behaviour and criminality across Cork city.

Deputy Gould said a lot of the reported increases in crime could be attributed to the country being in lockdown last year, but he said the rise in car thefts was worrying and he called on garages selling Japanese imports to fit immobilisers pre-sale.

"For the last few years, I’ve been raising the increase in joyriding and car thefts,” Mr Gould said.

“I raised specific areas that I am concerned about as there are a number of communities under attack and living in fear due to anti-social behaviour and criminality across Cork city.”

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