Since January, 5,989 mobile phone thefts have been recorded by An Garda Síochána, representing a 20pc increase on the same period last year. In response to this significant increase, the Crime Prevention Unit has issued guidelines on how users can avoid becoming a victim of theft.
First of all, users are advised to register their mobile phone with their service provider and take note of its unique IMEI number. This is usually found underneath the battery or can be accessed by dialling *#06#. With this number, if a user’s phone is stolen, they can contact their service provider and have the phone blocked. Users are also advised to enable PIN code access and keep their phone locked when not in use.
Gardaí are also asking mobile phone users to be streetwise and aware of their surroundings. Many mobile phone thefts involve the phone being snatched from a user’s hand when in use. The gardaí’s advice is to keep devices out of view, avoid making calls and texting when crossing the road and, if using the phone in public, keep your back to a wall so that the chance of being attacked from behind is reduced.
Smartphone users are urged to download apps that help them locate a lost or stolen device, while another tip recommends marking a phone in some way with unique letters or numbers.
Smartphones at greater risk
According to Herald.ie, the average value of smartphones stolen this year was €250 as thieves are targeting high-end models which are then resold within minutes.
Gadgetinsurance.ie reports that 91pc of its claims are from customers whose phones were stolen, 82pc of which were iPhones. Chill.ie sees a 50/50 split in theft of iPhones and other high-end smartphones, like those from the Samsung Galaxy range.
Mobile phone theft image via Shutterstock