News Irish News

Friday 20 October 2017

Don't 'give' your phone to a thief at Christmas - Shatter

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Tom Brady Security Editor

Smartphone thieves were largely responsible for a substantial rise in thefts from the person in the latest statistics.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that thefts overall are up by 5pc to more than 78,000 in a year.

These include an increase of one-third in personal thefts.

It is one of only two categories out of 14 in which increases were recorded for the year ending in September, compared with the corresponding period in 2012.

Mobile phone thefts are now being treated as a priority target by senior gardai with special operations under way to tackle the gangs responsible.

The overall statistics show that the number of crimes over the 12-month period dropped by around 7pc, or 17,656, to a total of 231,029.

Operation Fiacla, the nationwide crackdown on burglaries, resulted in a massive fall of 10.4pc in this category of crime, continuing the downward trend that has emerged throughout the year.

Robberies, which have presented another problem area for the gardai, are also down by 5pc from 2,861 to 2,713.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the gardai's determination to target the gangs involved in robbery and burglary had been evident in a number of high-profile arrests in recent weeks, and the figures clearly illustrated the success of garda measures to combat property crime.

He pointed out that at the end of November, Fiacla had led to 7,341 arrests, while 4,177 had been charged.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he was also particularly pleased to see a 16.6pc reduction in fraud and deception offences.

Noting a fall of 9.2pc in weapons and explosive offences, a drop of 6.7pc in drug crime and an 11.8pc decrease in offences against the State, he said the figures showed efforts to dismantle all aspects of organised crime and subversive activity were having a definable benefit.

Homicide offences remained at the same level, with a fall in the number of murders and manslaughters offset by the increase in cases of dangerous driving causing death.

HARASSMENT

"Quality of life" crimes were also down and the figures showed the number of public order offences had fallen by 7,159, or 15.9pc; assaults, threats and harassment by 1,556, or 9.8pc; and damage to property by 3,570, or 10.8pc.

Mr Shatter said mobile-phone owners must keep their phones safe.

He said: "Don't give an unintended Christmas present of your mobile phone to a thief. Never leave your phone unattended in your car.

"When you are not using your phone, ensure that it is safe and secure in your pocket or handbag. Simple and straightforward precautions can have a real impact in reducing mobile phone theft."

He also praised the gardai and the PSNI for the series of successes in the past year, culminating in seizures of weapons and explosives.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News