Cars are stolen in the Silesian province more than three times less often than even a decade ago. Less and less often thieves steal luxury limousines. They prefer mid-range cars, and even old rattletraps. They dismantle them and sell the parts on the Internet.
Last year, 14,1 thousand cars were stolen across the country. Most – 2893 – in Warsaw and its surroundings. Silesian region is ranked in the second place. In our region, ‘only’ 1879 cars disappeared. For comparison, the least busy were the thieves in Swietokrzyskie (179 stolen vehicles) and Podkarpackie (217).
However, it is worth remembering that 10 years ago in the Silesian voivodeship over six thousand cars a year were stolen. And the rate of recovery did not exceed 15 per cent (currently it’s more than 32 percent). How did this change? First of all, in every police station departments to fight car thieves were created. In addition to it, inspector Zbigniew Klimus, responsible for the criminal division deputy head of the Silesian police changed the ways to fight automotive criminals. Officers no longer pursue them from behind their desk, but they monitor places, where cars disappear the most often and they organise stake-outs there. The result? From year to year, the number of thefts decreases. In the fight against automotive thieves the development of advanced location systems installed in cars also helps. – Thanks to them, every vehicle can be found, and the jammers of signals used by thieves no longer hamper the actions of tracking – says Dominika Włodarczyk from Gannet Guard Systems, dealing with tracking and retrieving stolen objects.
Luxury brands do not attract anymore
Thieves no longer hunt for luxury cars. Mercedeses and BMW have long ago become some of the less frequently stolen cars in the Silesian province. Police officers stress that more than a year ago, Ferrari opened a new showroom in Katowice, and thieves did not steal a single car of this brand. – They are too distinctive and it is difficult to sell them. It would also be difficult to pass them on behind the eastern border – says the police officer.
Currently thieves are interested in two-, three-year-old cars worth 50-80 thousand zlotys. Volkswagen and Audi are the favourite brands. Last year they stole as many as 131 golfs and 118 Audi A4. Also 86 passats, 71 Audi A6 and 69 Audi A3 were stolen. Also more than a hundred Fiats (including 29 trucks) and Seats disappeared from our streets. In addition, a new trend appeared. The police gets more and more reports of theft of construction machinery. – These are very expensive vehicles, but easy to “hide” on one of the many sites where no one controls where the equipment has arrived from – Silesian police officer says.
Also, the reasons for which thieves steal cars have changed. More rarely their registration numbers are changed and they are sold with new documents on a car market or re-sale business. Now thieves are driven by the spare parts market. Cars are dismantled shortly after theft and sold in pieces. Traditional car market is already a relic. More parts of stolen cars are sold on the Internet – says our informer from the police station.
They dismantle old cars for parts and trade on the Internet
There is also a new phenomenon: old cars are disappearing from housing estate car parks. Thieves take them to the points of purchase of recyclable materials, press them and sell for scrap. Such thefts are the most difficult to detect, because after pressing there is no trace of the car allowing its identification.
According to the police, also the ways of stealing cars have changed. The famous wheel method (when perpetrators driving alongside showed the driver that he had caught a flat tire, and when he stopped, they got in his car and drove off) or method with a key (pickpocket stole keys from a car owner’s pocket, e.g. while shopping in the supermarket) go out of date. Currently the classic method dominates: breaking the lock and starting the car using a computer. – Thieves can cope with any car. For some of them they just need more time – says one of the police officers.
A few months ago, Silesian police officers dealing with automotive crime smashed a gang, whose members were stealing cars while the owners were sleeping. At night, they were breaking into the houses of doctors, lawyers or businesspersons and took the keys from the hallways to Audi, Volkswagens or Land Rovers standing in the driveways. Out of 32 such cases, only once sleeping residents heard a noise of the forced front door. A woman who woke up thought, however, that her husband went outside to smoke a cigarette. She rolled over to the other side and fell asleep.
Most cars disappear from car parks by housing estates and by shops. Silesian thieves steal mostly in big cities, but they are also on guest performances in Vienna or Berlin. However, there they only chase on luxury models, which within five hours are brought to the garages (chop shops) of Silesia. Last year there were several cases, when our police officers stopped cars stolen in Austria or Germany, before the owners reported their disappearance.