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Car theft is 1.5 times higher on the French side than the Dutch side St Maarten

Although armed robbery is often publicized and gives a negative image of the island as a tourist destination, it is not the only scourge of concern. Indeed, car thefts are equally disturbing. According to investigators on both sides of the island, the stolen vehicles do not leave the island, they are simply made up and resold. “There is a real chain,” noted the police three years ago, who had found nearly 400 facts between 2012 and 2015. What still confirms the gendarmes. The recirculation of stolen cars is too simple on the island. Notably partly Dutch.

In 2016, the Sint Maarten authorities took action to make the re-registration rules more restrictive. If in France, it is a Cerfa-type official document issued by the COM in Saint-Martin, on the other side of the border, a person who sold his car could establish his own Bill of sale, his assignment document. Under pressure from the insurance companies, the Dutch authorities made this official document three years ago: it must be downloaded from the government website and signed by the seller and bought before being presented to the insurer . The objective is to be able to better prove the origin of the vehicle and to limit the risks for the buyer to be accused of storing property.

The measure has reduced the number of vehicles stolen in the Dutch part but not in a very significant way. According to police statistics Sint Maarten, 146 car thefts were recorded in 2016, only 37 less than in 2012.

But what concerns the most is the difference in the number of facts still observed between the two sides of the island: they are still significantly higher in the French part where the administrative system of cession and registration is stricter.

In 2012, the gendarmes recorded 281 flights on Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, either 100 more than the Dutch police or 1.5 times more. In 2016, the gap had narrowed to 58 but flights were still 1.4 times higher in the French part. Last year nearly 336 flights were recorded in Saint-Martin, + 17% compared to 2017; however, police statistics have not been published for the last two years.

Another finding that questions, is the following: it is not uncommon for French residents to recognize their stolen vehicle a few weeks earlier and that it was registered on the Dutch side. This suggests that the cars are stolen on the French side and put back on the Dutch side after having been made up. According to our sources, garages would be specialized in this activity but would not be subject to any control.

Despite our requests to the police and prosecutors at the end of 2018 on the number of cars stolen, no information was provided. Except for the police claiming that the facts in part Dutch did not increase significantly. A year ago, the gendarmes claimed that cooperation to fight against the traffic of stolen cars was very difficult whereas it is easy on the armed robberies. A year later, the situation does not seem to have changed. And cars continue to be stolen.écurité-snsm/les-vols-de-voiture-sont-15-fois-supérieurs-côté-français-que-côté?fbclid=IwAR0_CjnhJ9fwpC_9iYgnrRQ_lDLZBkeTlQfxarjGRwik0YtTChAL1HNlJEY

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