News 2012

Title: Vehicle security - prevention is key
Date: 28/03/2012
Vehicle security - prevention is key

28 March 2012

Mountaineering Ireland (MI) recently met with the County Wicklow Joint Policing Committee* to discuss break-ins to vehicles parked in the Wicklow Mountains and to clarify how hillwalkers and climbers can reduce their risk of being affected by this crime.

On behalf of MI, Helen Lawless outlined the impact that such break-ins have on MI members and on other visitors to the Wicklow uplands. The implications for local businesses were highlighted and possible solutions were discussed with the committee. Suggestions included car-parks with CCTV and the belief that small enterprises operating in car-parks would reduce the incidence of anti-social behaviour.

Chief Superintendent Thomas Conway outlined the progress that has been made through Operation Uplands, a joint initiative between the three policing districts in Wicklow to tackle this problem. As detection is difficult, the Gardaí are focusing on prevention. Patrols (marked and unmarked cars) and checkpoints have been put in place over the last year. The number of break-ins to vehicles parked in the Wicklow uplands over the first 8 months of 2011 was 227, reduced from 238 for the same period in 2010.

Car crime in the uplands is typically opportunistic and fast, with most incidents taking place in the afternoons, between Thursday and Sunday. The Gardaí have appealed to people parking in the uplands to take the following measures to protect their vehicles:

· Avoid leaving bags, clothing etc on view within the vehicle;

· Open the glove box, and where possible, the lid on the boot, to show there is nothing in the vehicle;

· Remove portable sat navs including cradle and suction pads; also wipe any suction marks off the windscreen;

· If you must leave valuables in the boot, put them in before you arrive at the parking location;

· Secure the vehicle (23% of these thefts last year were from unlocked vehicles);

· Report all break-ins or damage to vehicles;

· Watch for, and report, suspicious any activity by dialling 999.

In addition, MI reminds groups that car-pooling reduces exposure to this crime and eases pressure for space in small or busy car parks. MI appeals to hillwalkers and climbers to follow this advice and pass it on to others. By doing so, we will be playing our part in reducing this type of crime.

*The purpose of the County Wicklow Joint Policing Committee is to provide a forum where the County Council and the senior Garda officers, responsible for the policing of that area, can consult and make recommendations on matters affecting the policing of the area and in particular to keep under review the levels and patterns of crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour occurring and the factors underlying and contributing to it. Membership of the Joint Policing Committee consists of the Chief Superintendent, Senior Members of the Gardaí, the County Manager, Public Representatives and representatives from the voluntary and community sector.