Vehicle theft down but motorists still warned to exercise caution
Sgt Christopher Swamber of the Stolen Vehicles Squad.
There has been a reduction in motor-vehicle larceny and robbery throughout the country from January 1st to May 31st.
This was revealed by Sgt Christopher Swamber of the Stolen Vehicles Squad during the police service weekly media briefing on Wednesday.
He said there were 300 reports of stolen vehicles comprising larcenies and robberies in 2019, compared to 411 reports in 2018, which shows a 27% decrease. There were also 168 recorded reports of larceny motor vehicle offences compared to 244 reports in 2017 representing a 31% decrease. Sgt Swamber said there was also a decrease in motor vehicle robberies of 20%, as there were 132 such reports recorded in 2019, compared to 167 committed in 2018.
Vehicles most targeted by criminals during the period were Nissan, Kia, Toyota and Hyundai models. Of the 300 vehicles reported stolen up until May 31, 60 were Nissan representing 20% of the total figure. The preferred choices were the B14 (14), Almera (3), AD Wagon (10), B13 (5), TIIDA (14), B-15 (5), Wingroad (4), Navarra (1) and X-Trail (4). The Sgt said within the past few months criminals have been targeting brand new motor vehicles, especially the Hyundai Tucson, the Nissan X-Trail and the Kia Sportage. Many of these vehicles are bought with a warranty, which prevents their owners from installing anti-theft or GPS devices in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, the Northern, Southern and Central Divisions recorded the highest number of Robbery/Larceny of Motor Vehicle for January 1st to May 31st with 72, 68 and 51 reports respectively. Motor vehicle owners are therefore strongly advised to exercise extreme caution when in these areas.
A total of 43 people were either arrested or charged for motor vehicle larceny/robberies for the period. After the drug trade, larceny and robbery motor vehicles is the next biggest organised crime in Trinidad and Tobago.
It is advised that owners should consider installing wireless GPS devices to avoid any problems with the dealers and the warranty. New car owners are also advised to return to the company and inform them of their desire to install anti-theft devices to secure their vehicle during the warranty period. Vehicle owners are also warned against using their vehicles as collateral for loans from money lenders.
Motorists are urged to pay attention to the following tips:
- Do not leave your vehicles with strangers
- As far as possible, do not walk with large sums of cash to purchase vehicles which are advertised online or in the newspaper classified.
- Always seek a secure method of payment through a bank or meet with the seller of the vehicle at a safe location.
- Vehicle owners who have had GPS devices installed in their vehicles by any of the many companies now engaged in this service, visit the company at least once per month and have their technicians activate the GPS tracking system, to verify that the device and their system are both in working order.