Po­lice ad­vice to driv­ers over spate of car break-ins


Cyprus Today - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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