In the first 11 months of 2018, 148 cars caught on fire, the Maltese Police Force have confirmed. Of those 148 cars, 60 of them were found to have been put on fire on purpose in targeted arson attacks.
The new figures, obtained by One News, shows that Maltese vehicles are at risk of being attacked, with a car catching on fire at an average of one every 2.2 days.
And 2018 isn’t a fluke year either – over the last three years, 452 cars were found on fire, with 175 of them (or about 38%) found to have been done on purpose.
Qormi was the worst hit area, followed by Bormla and then Ħamrun
Last year was the worst year in recent memory.
72 cars were found to have been put on fire on purpose in 2017, out of a total of 178 cars.
Paul Coleiro, the deputy director of the Civil Protection Department, said that investigators were able to figure out how a fire started and whether it was accidental or on purpose due to the remnants left behind.
“Investigators into fires recognise whether the fire started accidentally or on purpose – it’s very clear, and in fact this information is then sent to the Courts and the police force so they can continue their investigations and establish who was behind the fire,” he said.
Indeed, lots of evidence is left behind in a fire
“Sometimes, a fire is started to cover up another crime, for example, someone stole from the car, and then puts it on fire to destroy the evidence. Even in the face of this, whoever is undertaking the investigation will realise that the car had been robbed,” he said.
However, he said there were multiple ways for a car to catch on fire by itself.
“For example, there can be damage in the car’s electronics, or else damage in the fuel pipe that breaks open and leaks onto another part that is heated, or else two metal pieces can break off and start rubbing against each other, creating friction,” he said.