The theft of cars has been considered a concern by the authorities on the French side for several years. It has grown since Irma. Today, the number of vehicles stolen per week is estimated at around ten. The Sint Maarten police admit that this is also "partly Dutch, a worrying phenomenon but [they] are unable to give exact figures".
If the Sint Maarten system is singled out for certain failures, the French system is not vigilant enough either. "We have no statistics or information to say that the stolen cars are sold in the Dutch part because it is easier there," said the Sint Maarten police.
At the registration office in Sint Maarten, the information concerning the vehicles, in particular the serial numbers, is not sufficiently sufficient and / or correctly verified during a request for new registration. Several dozen recent cases prove it: people from the French side found their car which had been stolen, in circulation with Dutch plates.
The vehicle transfer system is simple and well known: a person repaints the car, erases the serial number and then registers the car in Sint Maarten and finds a buyer to whom he provides papers.
The make-up of stolen vehicles is more and more clever and effective. Instead of just filing the original car number, another serial number is pasted. Make-up will go all the less unnoticed if the car with its “new identity” is registered without verification by the agents in charge of doing so.
Since Irma, a hundred cases of theft of vehicles transformed and found have been recorded by the gendarmerie. On the Dutch side, the police claim to have dealt with "very few cases". "We are trying to educate people who buy a used car on this subject," said the Sint Maarten police. And to add: "all cars for export are carefully checked by the police and all documents are stamped before they can be shipped off the island."
To better combat traffic and theft, the registration systems should be more efficient and the authorities on both sides of the island should cooperate and exchange information in this area. The fight against underground garages already carried out in the French part could be extended to the scale of the island and shared with the police of Sint Maarten. If the gendarmerie has communicated several times on the dismantling of underground garages, the police have never so far reported such investigations in its numerous press releases.
(More details on www.soualigapost.com)
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