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Car Theft in Northern Ireland: Recent Studies on a Persistent Problem

NCJ Number
D McCullough; T Schmidt; B Lockhart
Date Published
40 pages
This document reports on four recent studies of the problem of car theft in Northern Ireland.
Examining the topic in depth, the studies investigate the extent of car theft, the attitudes and characteristics of the persistent car thief, and the response of the authorities to the problem. The report on the "joyrider" attempts to describe the mentality of the joyrider by placing the youth's activities within a social context. An examination of available crime records for the inner South Belfast area during two, 3-month periods in 1987 and 1988 revealed a clear pattern of car theft by people from West Belfast who subsequently dumped the cars closer to home. This evidence suggests that the problem has a particular "hot-spot" and that resources should be allocated accordingly. Car theft in Northern Ireland is concentrated heavily in Belfast and particularly West Belfast. In 1987, 6,147 cars, 80 percent of the total for Northern Ireland, were stolen in Belfast, and 47 percent of all cars stolen that year were recovered in West Belfast. To deal with the problem of car theft, it is necessary to focus more on prevention: better security systems, improved parking facilities, publicity and educational campaigns to encourage the public to use readily available crime prevention methods, and careful monitoring and analysis of patterns and trends in car theft. 9 figures, 12 tables, and 8 references