Police up ski theft focus

More than a dozen police officers from Carinthia are currently supporting their colleagues in Tyrol to fight the growing number of ski thefts.There were 2,724 reported cases of ski thefts in Tyrol last year, up by 13.2 per cent compared to 2008. Figures also increased in five other of Austria’s overall nine provinces year on year. Salzburg registered the second-highest crime rate in this regard behind Tyrol with 1,294 cases in 2009, down by 5.8 per cent compared to the previous year.An overall 4,576 pairs of skis – six per cent more than in 2008 – and 838 snowboards, up by 13.7 per cent year on year, were nicked across the country in 2009.Now officials in Tyrol and Carinthia, where 111 ski theft incidents were registered in 2009, agreed to cooperate on the matter. The Kurier newspaper reports today (Weds) that 15 police officers are currently in Tyrol to assist in examining the hundreds of ski theft cases reported by tourists in the winter sport hotspot so far this winter.Commentators have criticised that only a fraction of reported cases are solved by police, while authorities appealed on holidaymakers to be more careful.Police suggested tourists should lock their skis when abandoning them outside après ski bars and restaurants. They also said placing each ski separated from the other one at prepared areas in front of mountainous gastronomy businesses could reduce the risk of having them stolen.”We are currently trying out various measures to tackle the issue, but there isn’t a patent remedy,” a policeman told the Kurier.Austria is one of the most successful countries in the European Alps when it comes to attracting skiers and snowboarders. Around 56.1 million overnight stays were registered in the country between November 2009 and last March, up by 1.3 per cent year on year.Many Austrian hotel managers offered low-priced package deals last winter and in the 2008/2009 winter season amid fears people were unwilling to spend as much as they used to do on their trips due to the recession. Recent polls among hotel bosses in the Austrian Alps however revealed widespread optimism as far as current booking figures are regarded.