Awareness campaign launched after €2.5m worth of phones stolen

Mobile phones are the targets of two thirds of thefts and robberies and one in five of the crimes is taking place in pubs, nightclubs, and restaurants.

Some €2.5m worth of mobile phones were stolen last year in more than 5,700 reported incidents.

The figures come at the launch of a new Garda personal safety awareness campaign during March.

The Streetwise campaign is targeting 18 to 39-year-olds regarding minding their property and possessions and to plan their nights out.

Research for the campaign conducted by An Garda Síochána analysis service found that two thirds of all thefts and robberies involve mobile phones being stolen.

The statistics show two in five phone thefts take place on a road, street or footpath, while one in five occurs in a licensed premises.

The GSAS research also found:

  • Three in four victims of phone theft are aged between 18 and 39;
  • Two in five thefts occur between 10pm and 4am between Friday and Sunday;
  • There were 5,703 phone thefts in 2016, down 14% on 2015;
  • 498 phones were reported stolen in March 2016, compared to 641 in March 2015.

“Last year, €2.5m worth of mobile phones were stolen,” said Sgt Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit.

“In three out of four thefts where a mobile phone was stolen the victim was aged between 18 and 39.

“This campaign is a reminder to people to be streetwise when out in public as 40% of all thefts and robberies took place on a street, road or footpath with a further 20% taking place in a licensed premises or restaurant-type location.”

The public awareness campaign will include advertising on digital media, outdoor advertising, and in-pub advertising.

On social media, gardaí are advising people to check out #mindyourstuff.

“We want people to enjoy their nights out and the best way to do that is to have a plan,” said Sgt Courtney.

“Think about how you are getting to and from a location. Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Avoid walking alone and in dark locations.”

Sgt Courtney advised people to be particularly careful with certain individuals, who may be intoxicated or looking for trouble, and to just walk away from them.

“Never engage with drunk or aggressive people, use your brain, not your fist,” he said.

“Finally, be streetwise, take care of your property, particularly mobile phones and purses and wallets, Mind yourself, mind your stuff, and have a plan.”

He said the Streetwise campaign aimed to build on previous Garda crime campaigns to reduce thefts, robberies, and assaults though crime prevention, law enforcement, education, and awareness.

Sgt Courtney said a similar crime prevention campaign highlighting mobile phone security in March 2016 saw a marked reduction in the number of handsets stolen from the same month in the previous year.

There was a 22% reduction in the number of incidents of theft or robbery, where a mobile phone was stolen, reported last March, compared to March 2015.

Gardaí have warned about gangs targeting pubs and clubs and stealing high-value phones and cash when people are socialising.

  • twitter #mindyourstuff


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