Residents on the Lisburn Road have described their shock after the latest in a series of hijackings and attempted hijackings across Belfast took place in their street this week.
On Monday (January 16) a woman was approached by a male as she got into her car in Ashley Drive off Ashley Avenue around 5.15pm. The man ordered the driver out but she refused and drove for 20 yards until passersby intervened.
The would-be hijacker then got out of the vehicle and ran towards Fane Street with two other nearby males. The woman was not injured in the incident, but was left badly shaken.
It is the second time in a week South Belfast has been at the centre of the spate of carjackings, with a Porsche Boxster being hijacked in Chadwick Street off the Lisburn Road last Monday (January 9). In that incident, four thieves made off with the car.
Ashley Drive resident Susan Cole said she had been left frightened by what had happened.
“I believe the woman involved wasn’t local but it’s scary to think you can’t even leave your car outside your front door now without someone attempting to steal it. Females seem to be the ones being targeted, so it just makes you think twice every time you go to your car. I hope the police catch whoever is behind these soon.”
John Copeland from the Lisburn Road Residents’ Association said he believed the area was being targeted by hijackers due to several factors.
“The residents here are mainly students or older people, all of whom keep to themselves and with a few exceptions don’t really keep an eye on what is going on in the community, so it would be easier for anyone committing a crime to get away with it.
“The roads here are always quite busy and packed with parked cars, so there’s always someone driving through it and you don’t really stop to think it may be a stolen car.”
The male who attempted to steal the car is described as being in his late teens, 5ft 10in in height, of slim build and was wearing a light-coloured t-shirt. A second male that ran off with him is thought to be 5ft 8in with dark hair and wearing a blue hoody.
A hijacking four hours later in Donegall Street marked the 11th hijacking incident across Belfast in the past two weeks. However, a PSNI spokesperson said there was no indication of any “overarching co-ordination” between them.
The spokesperson added that drivers should be vigilant of personal security while driving.