Incredible number of mobile phones stolen every day in Ireland

Incredible number of mobile phones stolen every day in Ireland

A staggering 16 mobile phones were stolen every day in Ireland since the beginning of 2015, according to garda figures.

Over 7,000 mobile phones, the majority of which are smart phones, worth an estimated €3million have been stolen from people since 2015, according to latest figures from An Garda Síochána.

While the number of incidents where a mobile phone was stolen in 2015 has reduced by 5% compared to 2014, 60% of all thefts and robberies still involve the stealing of a mobile phone.

An Garda Síochána highlighted the figures today at the launch of a Crime Prevention Day of Action. 

The aim of the campaign is to promote ways of enhancing personal security and also to demonstrate how easy it is to record details of smart phone IMEI numbers and the benefits of doing so.

The timing of the campaign coincides with the St. Patrick’s Day festivities where large public events attracting lots of people can offer more opportunities for thieves and pick pockets.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said: "Since the beginning of 2015 almost €3million worth of smart phones have been stolen. Smart phones, cash and handbags/wallets are the most likely items to be stolen in thefts or robberies.

"An Garda Síochána strongly recommends that smart phone owners record details of their IMEI number. Only one in three people have this unique number when reporting their smart phone stolen.

"Knowing your IMEI number is important for several reasons. Firstly, An Garda Síochána can reunite recovered smart phones far easier if the IMEI number is reported to us at the time of theft or loss. Secondly, if the phone is registered with a service provider the IMEI number can be blocked on the networks, rendering the phone useless for anything other than parts. Thirdly, convicting the thief or handler of the phone becomes more straightforward if an injured party has been identified," said Sergeant Courtney.

The importance of recording your IMEI number was highlighted recently when gardai in Galway recovered 15 mobile phones and were able to identify the owners. A suspect has been arrested and charged in relation to the matter.

To access and record your IMEI number:
1. Simply dial *#06#
2. A 15 digit number will appear on your screen
3. Take a screen shot of this number (this usually involves holding the power button and home button simultaneously, handsets may vary).
4. Email this picture to yourself, giving you a permanent record of this number.

Sergeant Courtney also provided personal safety advice for mobile phone owners.

"People should avoid leaving their phone on tables in bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. All too often we see criminals simply walk past the table while people are distracted and grab the phone. If making or receiving a call in public, always do so with your back against a wall or shop window. This reduces the chances of a criminal snatching your phone," he said.

The National Crime Prevention Unit has developed a personal safety information pack, available for download on the garda website. Advice will also be provided on An Garda Síochána’s social media channels.

The Crime Prevention Day of Action is supported by the Irish Telecommunications Security & Fraud Forum (ITSFF), a recognised industry body in Ireland that operates in partnership with IBEC to prevent, detect and manage telecoms fraud industry-wide. The members are Vodafone, Meteor, eir, Virgin, Three, BT, SKY, and associate members are the Irish Banking Federation, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and GSMA.

According to ITSFF, if your phone has been reported lost or stolen your operator can 'block' its use on all networks and it will not work in Ireland.

In addition to your handset, your mobile phone number is linked to your Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card. A similar check is made by the network to ensure that the SIM card has not been reported lost or stolen to your network.

ITSFF also advised that your IMEI is printed inside the battery compartment of the handset, except on iPhones where it is located on the pull-out tray or the back of the phone. Your network provider can also provide you with your IMEI.

Facts on thefts/ robberies
• St. Patrick's Day and the period around it experienced higher levels of thefts and robbery in 2014 and 2015.
• Since 2015, over half of reported theft and robbery incidents occur between Friday and Sunday.
• Two out of every five thefts and robberies occur between 10pm and 4am.
• Almost 35% of thefts and robberies occur on a street/road location.

What is taken?
• Since 2015, the total value of items taken during thefts and robbery incidents was €4,387,883.
• The most common items stolen since 2015 were mobile phones, followed by cash, handbags, purses and wallets.
• Almost 60% of thefts and robberies involve the stealing of a mobile phone.
• Almost €3million worth of phones was reported stolen since 2015.
• Only one in three people who reported their mobile phone stolen had their IMEI number recorded.