Overall numbers of car thefts were down last year in Bucharest, according to the Romanian police, but there was an increase in the amount of rented cars stolen. Stealing rental vehicles apparently facilitates resale elsewhere in the EU.
Thefts of rental cars rose by 17 percent in 2012 on the previous year, according to the police, quoted by Agerpres. There were 1,261 recorded incidents, compared to 1,100 in 2011. However, total car thefts continued a four year downward trend in 2012, with a 37 percent reduction of 2011.
Police questioned 221 people in 2012 on suspicion of association with car theft, 15 percent more than in 2011. The number of subsequent arrests was also up, to some 107, albeit by only 2 percent on 2011.
Burglaries and thefts from houses remained at a similar level to 2011, but police noticed a changing pattern in the types of crime. Break-ins by burglars were down 13 percent on 2011, but the number of thefts from homes via confidence tricks rose by 34 percent. In total, 2,900 cases of theft from homes were reported in 2012. Theft from cars were even more frequent, with some 6,200 reported in 2012, the majority with unknown author, and only in 14 percent of the cases suspects were identified.
Around a third of the thefts could have been avoided by taking simple measures, such as locking doors and windows, as well as not allowing strangers into the home without being sure of their identity, according to the police. “A feature of 2012 was the increase in thefts from homes by impersonating officials or workers (Enel, Distrigaz, city hall, pest control) or by other confidence tricks, such as having relatives abroad or even just being friendly. These crimes mainly targeted the elderly,” said police representatives.
(photo source: sxc.hu)