If you own a Toyota Aqua, you must be aware and vigilant to know it’s the number one stolen vehicle throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service confirmed that motor vehicle larceny has increased this year compared to last year (2021), with the highest number of vehicles being reported or stolen by the Northern Division with a record of 223, followed by the Central Division of 136, the North Eastern Division of 98 and the Southern Division of 83.

The top four (4) vehicles most targeted by car thieves since the beginning of the year are Toyota Aqua, Nissan AD Wagon, Nissan B14 and the Toyota Fielder. According to Inspector Lloyd Lazarus of the Stolen Vehicles Squad, there has been an increase in larceny throughout Trinidad and Tobago since the start of the year and a decrease in robbery. The difference between the two is that larceny occurs when the owner of a vehicle returns to a missing vehicle that has been stolen and robbery is when the vehicle is taken at gunpoint. The reason these type of cars are most popular in vehicle theft and easier to steal is due to the fact that they can easily blend into traffic because a great bit of the population have these models of vehicles, making it difficult for police to detect their true status without extensive security checks. They also have extremely low security features which makes it easier for perpetrators to steal and can be easily cloned. Being cloned means that when another vehicle is “written off” due to a serious accident, it is often sold for scrap. The chassis number for the “written off” vehicle is then transferred to the stolen one (same make and model) to mirror the original vehicle.

Drivers, especially the owners of easily targeted, high risk vehicles now need to keep all eyes and ears more open due to this surge in vehicle theft. Citizens should always be aware of their surroundings and ensure that their vehicle is properly secured. Parking in isolated areas or in parking lots should be avoided. Vehicles should also be parked in well lit areas or if possible, in areas where there are functioning CCTV cameras. If you think you are being followed, go to the nearest police station or call 999. When driving at night, motorists need to keep their doors locked and windows rolled up. Legitimate car parks should be always be used and don’t leave your vehicle with keys in the ignition or idling and secure sunroofs.

It is further recommended that vehicle owners place unique identification marks in hidden locations within their vehicle and only the owners should be cognizant of where these marks are. This aids local authorities in the recovery process because usually when  vehicles are stolen, the chassis and engine number are tampered with, therefore these hidden marks will help police officers match stolen vehicles to their rightful registered owners.

Most importantly, citizens are also encouraged to invest in an Anti-Theft devices like GPS systems installed  by reputable companies who provide an efficient and reliable service. Although this maybe pricey at times, they do serve as effective deterrents in keeping your car safe and protected, and even in the unfortunate event of your car being stolen, chances of recovery are high.

The criminal practices that are trending in T&T right now includes stealing vehicles at gunpoint while confronting victims in their driveway or gateway, forcefully stopping victims while driving on the roadways and stealing their vehicles and using creative tactics to lure drivers to a stop like abandoned baby car seats on the side of the road or thieves posing as helpless civilians who need “assistance” due to a car breakdown.

In light of these criminal practices, we at Gaffar GPS Solutions encourage citizens, especially those who own easily targeted vehicles like Aquas to be extra cautious and vigilant when conducting their daily routines, especially for the upcoming Christmas season. Also be mindful to report any suspicious vehicles you may see parked up in your neighbourhood or community as these vehicles maybe involved in criminal activities and can be used to commit several offences.