Compared with last year, the number of car theft has declined, State Police told LTV. Still, relatively new cars produced in 2015 or later are most likely to be stolen.
“BMW, Audi and Volkswagen are popular, but recently car thieves choose also Kia and Toyota brands,” said Raimonds Kronbergs, chief of Office 2 of the State Police's Riga Regional Criminal Police Administration.
45-50% of stolen cars are found. The program viewer said that it is not the police who are actively involved in the search for stolen property, but the owners of the cars themselves. She bought a car, and a few days later someone stole it from a closed parking lot in the courtyard.
“My neighbors, fortunately, saw it, came to wake me up at once, it happened at night, at three o'clock, when all the lanterns were off,” the woman said. “I woke up and realized it relatively quickly. So we called the police, the police came over and sorted the papers, said we had to wait for another car to come, and it was all very stretched.”
She hoped that the car thieves would be caught operationally, and the car would return to the yard, but no miracle happened. Further communication with the State Police did not turn into cooperation. The GPS connected to the car was pulled out on the way, but three surveillance cameras were spotted by the owners of the stolen car as they drove the route. Companies do not issue CCTV recordings to individuals, only to law enforcement.
The viewer also said that it was she who told the border guard that a car had been stolen.
“At 9 in the morning, I called, they were not informed of this theft,” the victim said. “Following GPS, I went to Lithuania, to Biržai, because I've heard the stolen car parts are sold there. I went to the Biržai police, and they were not aware of such a car."
“This system is also integrated and accessible to the entire department of the Ministry of Interior, including the State Border Guard,” Kronbergs said. “It is not necessary to transfer this information on each stolen vehicle separately to the employees of a single agency authority.”
The viewer found her own car in the woods. She was also puzzled that on the day the car had been in the register of stolen cars, it was possible to pass through the whole of Rīga and enter Jūmala, meeting three police cars on the way.
“Whether the police car is equipped with an automatic number-reading system, that's one issue. The numbers must be entered manually for each car. Or at that moment, this police crew performed other service duties,” the State Police representative said.
The police did register the stolen car in Riga, on the Vanšu Bridge, at a time when the car was in theory no longer in the stolen car register, because it was a week after it had been found.
“A policeman comes to me [..] about the fact that the car is still in search. We were waiting for the experts. It was my “poor” inspector who didn't have time to take it off [the register]. God forbid, if I had gone to Estonia, Lithuania! The car would just have been taken away because it's in search,” the woman said.
The viewer said she spent long hours and consumed a lot of fuel to find her car. She had been guided by advice on social media and private correspondence regarding which areas thieves tend to leave the stolen car temporarily.
“The victims tend to turn to some criminal circles through their acquaintances and get their vehicles back for payment without informing the police about it, thinking that the police do nothing. It must be understood here that through their activities people contribute to such criminal offenses. If any of this makes a profit, they will certainly repeat the whole thing,” Kronbergs said.
However, the woman is puzzled: is the police's job not to investigate, but to arrange papers, and the victim has to act as a detective?
She has handed over information about the suspects to the police, but she is convinced that nothing will be done with this information.
Kronbergs acknowledged that 98% of the criminal proceedings initiated by 11 investigating authorities are in the State Police and “this is a large amount of paper, but it does not in any way affect the speed of entering information into the databases”.
In the near future, the police promise that they will be able to work digitally, which means less paperwork, more time for physical investigation. They also stressed that the feeling of “the police are not working” is due to the lack of communication with victims.