Gardaí have issued a warning over the rise in theft of second-hand imported cars.
There has been a notable rise in car theft offences, with a particular problem relating to second-hand imported cars from outside the European market.
Gardaí say these types of vehicles may be targetted due to the lack of security features.
“For instance, many second-hand car imports do not have a fully fitted car alarm system or are without a fitted immobiliser. This makes them vulnerable to hot-wiring. If the model has a keyless ignition it has proven possible to pick up a signal from the key fob from within the house where it is parked,” a spokesperson said.
Over 4,000 vehicles were reported stolen in 2022 – a 52% increase on 2021 and 17% increase on 2019.
Sergeant Mark Bolger, Garda National Crime Prevention Office, said, “Car theft especially that of second-hand imported vehicles is on the rise. Car buyers and owners can take actions to decrease the risk of the theft of their vehicle. Cars imported from international markets are not automatically manufactured with the same security features as cars manufactured for the European market.
“We urge buyers and owners of vehicles to confirm the security features of import vehicles, especially to check if there is an in-built immobiliser and to consider additional security options.”
• Buyers should check the security features of their vehicles and make decisions relating to augmenting security
• For cars without an immobiliser, additional steering wheel lock or chain should be considered
General vehicle security advice is:
Do not leave valuables on show
Lock doors and fully close windows
Fit an alarm
Retrofit an Immobiliser or use a physical lock
Install a tracker
Use physical security features such as a steering wheel lock and catalytic convertor lock
Fit theft-resistant number plate fittings
Park under streetlights
Park where there is CCTV when possible