Police advice to drivers over spate of car break-ins
MPS APPROVE USE OF SECURITY CAMERAS ACROSS TRNC AS CONCERNS GROW OVER RISING CRIME, VIOLENCE
POLICE have issued advice to motorists on how to keep their cars and belongings safe from thieves following an upsurge in vehicle “smash and grabs” — including one in a central Girne car park in which knife-wielding robbers threatened two men who challenged them.
Thursday’s eight-point notice from police, who have also stepped up patrols in offending troublespots, came after MPs approved a Bill for the installation of security cameras in main towns and cities across the country.
Ministers also spoke of plans to bolster the force and to step up immigration controls, admitting that perception of crime could damage the TRNC’s image abroad.
Police advised drivers to fit a car alarm to vehicles that did not have one, and to ensure cars were parked on lit main roads — where allowed — or in official car parks, with the wheel turned towards the pavement and steering lock on. They should also keep a note of their registration and chassis numbers.
Drivers should check that the boot and all doors are locked, and windows closed, before leaving their car,
and should not leave valuables visible inside — as well as ensuring they are not being watched while putting items such as handbags, briefcases or mobile phones in the boot. They should not leave the key in the ignition, even for a short time, or leave a spare in the glove compartment.
Parliament voted on Monday in favour of a draft Town Security Administration System Bill, which will see a network of Mobese security cameras set up. The system was agreed with Turkey in September 2016, to improve public safety, and the first stage of the scheme — confirmed in March — is due to see some 544 security cameras installed in pilot public areas of Lefkoşa and Girne at a cost of some 52 million TL.
Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars stressed to MPs the importance of the measure and said great care was being taken to avoid violation of privacy. She said there would also be stricter immigration controls, including recording the place where visitors were staying, and establishment of a criminal record system was under consideration.
Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman also told a BRT TV programme they were working on the “staff and tools” needed to boost police crime-fighting capability, saying “any security gaps” could inflict serious harm on higher education and tourism, two pillars of the TRNC economy.
Perception could be worse than reality, he stressed, and there was “much less” crime in the TRNC than other countries, but “if you are known in the Turkish press as a place where people constantly shoot each other and steal from each other, even though your per capita crime rates are much lower than in Turkey, your image is tainted and you lose out”.
The Premier was speaking in the aftermath of an incident in which Aylin Akdeniz’s husband and a “good Samaritan” were threatened at knifepoint after challenging robbers who had smashed the windscreen of Ms Akdeniz’s car in Girne’s Baldöken parking area at about 1.30am last Saturday.
Güray Denge, 45, and 24-year-old passerby Munawar Hussein gave chase until the robbers turned on them near the harbour, snatching a mobile phone worth 2,000TL from Mr Hussein as he tried to call police.
The pair then fled with 1,545TL, 300 euros and a CD player. Murat Kazıcı and Alparslan Kuşcu were later arrested and remanded in prison custody on Wednesday pending trial.
Writing on social media, Ms Akdeniz said, “this nightmare should not be happening in Cyprus, especially in the beautiful town of Girne,” and called on “everyone” — police, Girne Municipality, Tourism Ministry and “sensitive citizens” — to return the country to safe days.
The Girne incident came after the latest in a number of break-ins reported among cars parked at Lefkoşa Cemetery. Hasan Güngör complained that his car window had been smashed while he was at a relative’s funeral last Friday, but nothing had been stolen.
A police spokesman said they had increased patrols in all areas where crimes were taking place. He cited the deportation yesterday of two men on 90-day tourist visas, found jobless, penniless and sleeping rough in the Baldöken car park, as an example of the new crackdown.
Two men broke into a woman’s car stealing 1,545TL and 300 euros as well as the car stereo