Gardaí warn car thefts at seven-year high with Japanese cars being targeted

Senior gardaí say specific makes and models imported from the Asian market are being stolen because they are not fitted with an immobiliser.
Gardaí warn car thefts at seven-year high with Japanese cars being targeted

Kenneth Fox

Car theft is at a seven-year high with gardaí warning that thieves are particularly targeting specific types of Japanese car imports.

As the Irish Examiner reports, senior gardaí say specific makes and models imported from the Asian market are being stolen because they are not fitted with an immobiliser.

They stopped short of identifying the exact car types in order to protect car dealers and car owners from being even more targeted.

However, they advised anyone who owns a Japanese import to consider fitting old-style steering wheel locks to secure their vehicles.

Japanese imports have been steadily increasing in recent years, particularly as the flow of cars from Britain has slowed.

The warning was issued at a meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) which heard that last month saw the most reported car thefts in a single month since October 2015.

The JPC was told that in the Cork City garda division alone, there has been a 164 per cent increase in reported car thefts - from 59 to 156 - between January and May 2022 compared to the same period last year.

There has been a 328 per cent increase in reported cases of interfering with a vehicle with intent to steal an item or a vehicle - up from 18 to 77 - in the first five months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

Chief Supt Tom Myers stressed that while Ireland was in lockdown for a significant portion of the first half of last year and reported crime rates dropped, the increase in these specific categories of property crime post-lockdown is of concern.

Crime prevention officer, Sgt Brian McSweeney, said gardaí in Cork analysed the car theft figures earlier in the year and noticed a trend that a particular type of car is being taken.

Sgt Sweeney said it became clear that specific makes, imported from the Asian market without immobilisers fitted, are being targeted.

Of the 156 vehicles reported stolen in the Cork city garda division so far this year, 30 were Asian imports without immoblisers.

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