Gardaí urge users to protect devices after €5m worth of phones stolen since start of 2019

Gardaí are urging mobile phone users to download an app that helps to locate the device if it is stolen to help combat criminal activity.
The appeal follows the release of figures by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service which show that 11,488 mobile phones, valued at around 5 million, have been stolen since the beginning of 2019. Of those, only 1,176 have been recovered.
A quarter of the thefts (2,868) were in one Dublin district – Dublin South Central. Some 16 per cent (1,869) were in Dublin North Central, while the other four Dublin Metropolitan areas accounted for 23 per cent of thefts.
In Limerick, there were 426 phones stolen, Kildare 398, Cork city 368 and Galway 324.
Crime prevention officer for the Meath Division, Sergeant Dean Kerins said, The price of mobile phones makes them a clear target for criminals, so lets try and deter them by increasing phone security.
If you a have a smartphone, we recommend downloading a trusted location finder app so if it is lost or stolen, you have a better chance of getting it back. Some phones already have a feature like this already so have a look in the security settings on your phone.
We also highly recommend that you add a family member or friend as an emergency contact in your phone. If we receive a lost or stolen phone, we will be able to contact that person. Our property stores throughout the country receive a lot of stolen and lost phones that we cannot trace the owners for. Adding the emergency contact will help solve this problem.
Other preventative measures you can take include enabling the PIN Security feature, keeping your phone locked at all times, and property-mark it with unique personal letters or numbers.
He said: For those who do not own a smartphone, call *#06# on your keypad and note the IMEI number that comes up. This is a 15 digit number that is unique to your phone. If your phone is lost or stolen, call your service provider immediately so they can block the phone.
If you believe your phone has been stolen, you should call gardaí immediately. Do not follow the person via your tracking app, warned Sergeant Kerins.
Gardaí say the most common place for phones to be stolen is out in public or in a licensed premises. They advise phone owners to:
· Be wary of your surroundings and mind your property.
· Plan your night out, how are you getting there and how are you getting back?
· Avoid walking alone in dark places.
· Keep your phone out of public view.
· Dont leave your phone on display in a vehicle.
· Dial *#06# and save a screenshot of your IMEI number. Email the image to yourself.
· Keep your phone locked and enable as much security features as you can.
· Download or activate a trusted find my phone app.
· Add a relative or friend as an emergency contact in your phone