Expatica news

Car thefts falling, but only slightly

16 February 2005

BRUSSELS – Every day 65 cars are stolen in Belgium, despite a noticeable fall in vehicle crime.

On Wednesday, several newspapers reported that 23,591 drivers lost a car in 2003, down from 30,071 the previous year – when an average of 82 cars were stolen every day.

Interior Minister Patrick Dewael welcomed the 22 percent fall and said he expected further improvements to be shown in the 2004 figures.

In particular, the reduction includes a fall in violent vehicle crime. Car and homejackings decreased from 1,258 to 1,534, down by 18 percent.

Thefts from inside cars are also falling – down by 8.6 percent from 94,528 in 2002 to 86,401.

The police put the fall in car crime down to the detection of several criminal gangs and to the introduction of new cars with better security.

In almost two-thirds of cases (59 percent) of carjacking the cars are eventually recovered, 80 percent within the same month, and 94 percent within Belgium.

The rest are found mainly in Belgium’s neighbouring countries, especially in France.

Dewael and the police are launching new campaigns aimed at driving down further the number of thefts.

A 30-second advert will be shown in cinemas advising drivers on how they can prevent car theft and the federal police is to hand out 400,000 leaflets giving 10 further tips.

Most Belgian car crime takes place in three key judicial districts: Brussels (22 percent), Charleroi (13 percent) and Liege (13 percent). Antwerp (8 percent) and Mons (7 percent) are also targets.

When it comes to the type of car that thieves target, the most popular are Fords, generally Fiestas (12 percent), Volkswagen, essentially Golfs (12 percent) and Mercedes (9 percent).

Carjackers, though, rob luxury cars, which are equipped with anti break-in systems.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news