It must be a sign of the times. Literally. But, as we swirl around in the midst of this economic recession, it seems there`s more and more of these signs springing up around the place here in Ireland. It`s a response, of course, to the apparent increase in the amount of thieving from cars.
Luckily, I haven`t fallen foul of the car thieves recently. But, I did fall foul a couple of years ago.
I love to trot around any place of wild beauty. And, of course, the thieves alight on these places too, like wasps to a jampot. Abandoning my car for a nice little trail run a couple of winter`s ago, I returned to find the side window smashed and my handbag, and other contents gone.
Note, I had taken the precaution of hiding my bag. On the back seat. Under a tennis racquet. (Now, where`s that flaming embarrassment icon?) So yeah, I deserved ever bit of thievery I attracted.
But it was maddening, all the same.
There was the darned nuisance of all that glass to clear up. Clingfilming the window frame, til the window experts could come and fix it. Reporting to the Gardaí(our police force). Reporting to the insurance company. Putting up with missing items for weeks after. Rummaging for vouchers to discover they`re gone. Looking for a notebook that I know I left somewhere…. and later remembering. Rooting around for a favourite lipstick…yep, gone too.
It made me acutely aware of where I park my car.
And acutely aware of watching out for tell tale pieces of car glass.
More often than not, I`d fine glass scattered at a beach car park, or at a forest entrance. And there would frequently be two or more such pools.
Actually, in my trip to Glendalough this year, I noticed four piles of car glass in the free car park there at the Visitor Centre. It is, it seems, the clichéd magnet for thieves.
Parkrun in Malahide last Saturday, started with a warning from the organizers not to leave valuables in parked cars, especially in the carpark adjoining the Castle Entrance. Much favoured my tourists, it seems it is therefore, much favoured by thieves too.
How sickening that must be for the poor tourists, high on excitement with their trip to our emerald shores, only to return to their rental car and find passports, money, suitcases gone. Cead mile fáilte, indeed.
This is one instance in which I appreciate graffiti. The sign reads
Thieves@work.(Braking(sic) into cars)
Yep, I imagine it was one very annoyed driver who wrote that, returning as I did to discover his car damaged and, more than likely, contents missing.
CCTV cameras and extra security personnel help. But they`re costly and not ever tourist hot spot has the resources to invest in them.
Police presence helps too but yes, it`s a recession and I am assuming there are bigger fish to be caught.
I`d love to know the statistics though, on this kind of crime. I suspect, from my reading of newspaper reports and online forums that it is increasing but of course, anecdotal evidence can`t compare to hard facts. Anyway, having fallen victim to the crime, I am more likely to be aware of it`s occurrence.
Precautions such as, of course, not storing valuables in one`s car and certainly not leaving valuables on display are common sense.
And much though you love that beauty spot, or want to soak up some scenery, or run in the wilds, maybe it`s wiser to drive on.
Caveat Auriga! Driver beware!