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Aquas are thieves’ top targets as vehicle thefts up

The T&T Po­lice Ser­vice yes­ter­day ad­mit­ted mo­tor ve­hi­cle lar­ce­ny has in­creased this year over the cor­re­spond­ing pe­ri­od for 2021, with the North­ern Di­vi­sion record­ing the high­est num­bers of 223 ve­hi­cles be­ing re­port­ed stolen or miss­ing. This was fol­lowed by the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion – 136; North East­ern Di­vi­sion – 98 and the South­ern Di­vi­sion – 83.


Speak­ing dur­ing the week­ly me­dia brief­ing at the Po­lice Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing, Port-of-Spain, yes­ter­day, In­sp Lloyd Lazarus, who heads the Stolen Ve­hi­cle Squad, al­so said the top four ve­hi­cles most tar­get­ed by car thieves since the year be­gan are the Toy­ota Aqua (113 stolen); Nis­san AD Wag­on (70 stolen); Nis­san B14 (37 stolen) and the Toy­ota Field­er (35 stolen).

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Lazarus ex­plained that these ve­hi­cles are gen­er­al­ly tar­get­ed be­cause they have low to no se­cu­ri­ty fea­tures, mak­ing it easy for the per­pe­tra­tors to steal. In ad­di­tion, he said the ve­hi­cles can al­so be eas­i­ly cloned by un­scrupu­lous per­sons and due to their pop­u­lar­i­ty, they eas­i­ly blend in, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for po­lice to de­tect their true sta­tus with­out ex­ten­sive se­cu­ri­ty checks

In or­der to re­duce in­ci­dents of car theft, Lazarus urged the pub­lic to make use of le­git­i­mate car park­ing fa­cil­i­ties; de­sist from leav­ing keys in the ig­ni­tion and/or ve­hi­cles idling; park in high-traf­ficked ar­eas and in­stall GPS, alarms and gear locks

He al­so ad­vised ve­hi­cle own­ers to etch their reg­is­tra­tion num­ber on the door glass or in­side the cars where it can­not be eas­i­ly seen, as this would be one way for them to eas­i­ly iden­ti­fy a ve­hi­cle if it was stolen

Pro­vid­ing sta­tis­tics for the Port-of-Spain Di­vi­sion, Lazarus said in 2021 there were 45 in­ci­dents of mo­tor ve­hi­cle lar­ce­ny; and 23 mo­tor ve­hi­cle rob­beries re­port­ed. For 2022 to date, how­ev­er, 60 in­ci­dents of mo­tor ve­hi­cle lar­ce­ny have been re­port­ed; with 17 mo­tor ve­hi­cle rob­beries

Lazarus said the de­tec­tion rate in the PoS Di­vi­sion had in­creased by 400 per cent for the pe­ri­od 2022

He at­trib­uted the down­ward trend in the PoS Di­vi­sion in re­la­tion to the rob­bery of mo­tor ve­hi­cles and the de­tec­tion of lar­ce­ny of ve­hi­cles, as large­ly due, “to crime fight­ing ini­tia­tives in the realm of stolen ve­hi­cles and the strate­gic de­ploy­ment of pa­trols with­in the di­vi­sion.”

He said the de­cline had al­so been im­pact­ed by a greater pub­lic aware­ness, as per­sons were pay­ing more at­ten­tion to per­son­al safe­ty and se­cu­ri­ty of their as­sets

He said 56 peo­ple have so far been charged with mo­tor ve­hi­cle lar­ce­ny across the coun­try since the year be­gan. —An­na-Lisa Paul