Trinidad Express / THERE has been an upsurge in vehicle thefts, with female drivers the target.

Last week, three women were carjacked in the Southern Police Division, all held at gunpoint by bandits. A primary school teacher-trainee was held up on the school’s compound at Princes Town, a woman was robbed of her Kia Sportage outside her home in Union Hall, near San Fernando, and a woman was robbed of her Nissan X-Trail outside her Gasparillo home.

In the Gasparillo crime, the bandits crashed the vehicle while attempting to escape.

In the other cases, the schoolteacher’s vehicle was recovered two days later in Palmiste, and the Kia Sportage was recovered in St Augustine.

Head of the South Western Division Task Force Inspector Don Gajadhar said there had been 20 cases of larceny and robbery of motor vehicles within the division for the last two months.

And within the last three weeks there had been an increase in vehicle thefts, Gajadhar said.

Gajadhar said that while the most prevalent vehicles stolen were B12, 13, and 14, and the Nissan Tiida, there were increasing thefts involving Toyota HiLux and Kia Sportage, which were probably linked to the demand for spare parts.

The police inspector appealed to drivers to be more observant of their surroundings, especially when nearing their destinations.

“Drive around the block and check if there are strange people or vehicles nearby. When approaching your homes, call ahead and ask someone to open the gate for you,” said Gajadhar.

And If you think you are being targeted, drive to the nearest police station.

“That will throw them off,” he said.

The senior officer said there was also an increase in the number of victims using automated teller machines.

Gajadhar said that people using ATMs, especially late at nights, were seen as easy targets for robbers.

“The easiest way to rob someone is when they are getting out of a vehicle. They can hit your vehicle from behind to force you to get out of your vehicle. Do not make it easy for the thieves,” he appealed.

He said the thieves were not targeting one area, but across the country.

The officer said that the robbery of a teacher of her vehicle on her school’s compound last week was “out of the ordinary” but even more reason for drivers to be vigilant of their surroundings before they park.

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