Car thefts rise 150pc in Mullingar last year

The number of vehicles reported stolen in the Mullingar Garda District increased by 150 percent last year.

That’s according to the latest Garda crime figures, which revealed that 88 vehicles were stolen in the locality last year compared to 28 in 2018. In the Athlone District, 22 vehicles were taken in 2019, up one from the previous year.

The number of reported thefts from vehicles also rose significantly. In the Mullingar District the figure doubled from 44 to 88, while in the Athlone District the number rose from 54 to 74, a 37 per cent jump.

The number of burglaries reported last year also rose significantly. In the Mullingar District, there were 167 burglaries reported (+33, 25%), while in the Athlone District 138 were reported (+20, 17%).

The number of reported crimes against the person, which includes assaults, increased countywide from 437 in 2018 to 464 last year (+6%).

Chief Supt Fergus Healy says that the rise in vehicles thefts is linked to the increase in burglaries as criminals often take cars from outside houses to transport goods stolen.

Speaking at this week’s meeting of Westmeath Joint Policing Committee in Mullingar, Chief Supt Healy said that burglaries are on the rise around the country.

He also encouraged Westmeath County Council to fund the purchase of an engraving machine that the public could use to tag their valuables. He added that the machine, which costs in the region of €5,000, has been in operation in the Cavan Monaghan Garda Division for a time and has proved successful in helping people recover possessions that had been stolen.

The suggestion was welcomed by a number of councillors. Cllr Frank McDermott suggested that council could join forces with a number of community organisations to jointly fund the purchase of a machine.

Director of Services Martin Murray said that the council would support the purchase of the machine.

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