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'Snatch and grabs' on the rise as gardaí urge vigilance with smartphones

More than 7,000 mobile phones have been stolen from people since the start of 2015.

Image: smartphone image via Shutterstock

ALMOST €3 MILLION worth of mobile phones have been stolen since the beginning of last year, gardaí have revealed, as they warn instances of ‘snatch and grabs’ are on the rise.

According to figures released by gardaí today. More than 7,000 mobile phones have been stolen from people since the start of 2015. Though the number of mobile phone thefts fell last year, 60% of all thefts and robberies still involve the stealing of a phone.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said one of the most common examples is the ‘snatch and grab’.

“Robberies from persons are coming down, but things like snatch and grabs are up slightly – that would be a concern”.

He said people should avoid leaving their phones on tables in bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

“All too often we see criminals simply walk past the table while people are distracted and grab the phone.”

Two out of every five thefts and robberies occur between 10pm and 4am.

He also advised people to be careful about where they make and receive calls, saying they should stand with their back against a wall while on the phone.

This reduces the chances of a criminal snatching your phone.

Keep a record

Gardaí are urging members of the public to make sure they record the details of their International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. In most cases, you can do this by dialling *#06#. You can then take a screenshot of the number and email it to yourself in case you ever need it in the future.

Source: An Garda Síochána

Just one in three people who reported their mobile phones stolen in the last year had their IMEI number recorded. Earlier this month, gardaí in Galway recovered 15 mobile phones and, using these numbers, were able to return them to their owners.

“These things are very valuable. Almost €3 million worth of mobile phones were stolen in the last year – that’s round 7,000 of them – so of course it’s going to have a big impact on people,” Courtney said.

People don’t print photos anymore, they keep them on their phones and if they’re taken they lose all those images and memories. And that’s just from the pictures point of view.

If people have banking details or other personal details, someone could access those on the phone.”

Read: Farmers in Tipperary ‘patrolling countryside with guns’ to ward off burglars>

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