‘Feral youngsters’ behind spike in Dublin car thefts – Conor Faughnan

There were over 4,000 vehicles stolen in Ireland last year.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

12.25 19 Jun 2024

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‘Feral youngsters’ behind spik...

‘Feral youngsters’ behind spike in Dublin car thefts – Conor Faughnan

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

12.25 19 Jun 2024

Share this article

Car crime is on the rise in Dublin and “feral youngsters” are part of the problem, a leading motor expert has claimed. 

CEO of the Royal Irish Automobile Club (RIAC) Conor Faughnan said teenagers are regularly “smashing” car windows and stealing “whatever they can” in the city centre.

Car thefts returned to pre-pandemic levels in Ireland last year when there were over 4,000 vehicles stolen, up 23% from the year previous.


'Casual car crime'

On Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Faughnan said “casual car crime” has become the norm in Dublin.

“They're literally feral youngsters and they're just going around smashing windows and robbing whatever they can take,” he said.

“The advice is don't expose anything in the car that might be tempting for a thief.

“In one case, a friend of my son who is a musician, had a violin worth about five grand stolen from his car, which will probably be sold for a couple of hundred euros.

“The feral street gouger that did it probably has no appreciation of what is stolen.”

Spike in ‘casual’ Dublin car crime linked to ‘feral youngster’ A smashed/ broken car window. Image: GeoPic / Alamy Stock Photo

With 35% of car thefts occurring outside residences, Mr Faughnan emphasised the importance of safeguarding your keys.

“People will talk to you about code grabbers and scanners and stuff like that, which is occasionally a problem, but manufacturers are ahead of that,” he said.

“Robbing keys is a good way to rob a car and typically that is what will happen, so you need to be mindful of that.”

High-value cars

The RIAC chief said more expensive vehicles attract higher calibre criminals.

“Cars can be stolen by being lifted and taken away by organised criminals robbing high-value cars," he said.

“They would come across a lack of street-level security but even in car parks that have CCTV and are well-lit, it can happen.

“I talk to people who feel menaced on the way back to their parking space and that sort of menacing, unsettling feeling across the city is unwelcome.

“There are different defences for high-end vehicles you can get, like car trackers and that sort of stuff.”

Bike thefts 'unreported'

Mr Faughnan said another huge issue is bike thefts, which “often go unreported”.

“The Gardaí say there are about 4,000 bicycle thefts in Dublin annually, but the Dublin Cycling Campaign say it's way higher,” he said.

“They reckon it could be as high as 20,000 so the actual truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

“Because of low-level endemic crime, you simply can’t use a bicycle properly in Dublin and that’s really frustrating.”

More than 450 bikes and cars were robbed in the capital in the first eight weeks of the year, a 20% increase on the same period last year.

Main image: A robber dressed in black holding a crowbar, attempting to steal a car. Image:  Andrii Zorii / Alamy Stock Photo

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