Saturday 24 February 2018

St Patrick's Day 2016: Gardai warn festival-goers of thieves and pick-pockets

Pickpocketing on the street. Photo: Deposit
Pickpocketing on the street. Photo: Deposit

Meadhbh McGrath

Gardai have warned festival-goers ahead of St Patrick's Day about thieves and pick-pockets that will be operating nationwide.

Almost €3m worth of mobile phones, most of them smartphones, were reported stolen since the beginning of 2015.

At the launch of a Crime Prevention Day of Action today, An Garda Síochána revealed new figures on mobile phone safety.

Up to 60pc of thefts and robberies involve the stealing of a mobile phone, and two out of every five of them occur between 10pm and 4am.

Over half of reported incidents occur between Friday and Sunday.

In a campaign to coincide with St Patrick’s Day, which usually sees a higher level of this type of crime, Gardaí are warning people to beware of thieves and pickpockets.

Members of the public are advised to avoid leaving their phone on tables while in bars, nightclubs or restaurants and should ideally stand with their backs against a wall or shop window while taking calls to reduce the chance of a criminal snatching the phone from behind.

Gardaí are also urging people to take note of their smart phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number in case of theft, as it can help trace phones back to their rightful owners.

They noted that 15 mobile phones had been recovered in Galway, which were then identified by their IMEI numbers and returned to their owners.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said: “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.”

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.

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