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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C

Ringing someone in public? Get your back against the wall, say gardaí

Stay safe out there.

shutterstock_225655375 Shutterstock / SpeedKingz Shutterstock / SpeedKingz / SpeedKingz

EVER USE YOUR phone in public? The latest safety advice is to stand with your back against the wall if you do.

That’s according to the gardaí, who have released their latest ‘streetwise’ safety tips.

An infographic released by the gardaí gives tips on how to be safe when you’re out and about:

garda infographic

Speaking to, Sergeant Alan Roughneen, of the National Crime Prevention Unit, said that mobile phones are particularly at risk of being robbed.

“A quarter of mobile phones are stolen between midnight and 4am,” he pointed out, adding that after mobile phones, cash and credit cards are the most common item stolen.

A third of thefts from people involve a ‘snatch and grab’ in public.

The timing of thefts is interesting – half of all thefts from people, robbery from people and assaults happen between Friday and Sunday.

Preventing crime

The new figures have been released as part of a National Crime Prevention Day of Action. What gardaí want people to realise is that they can take simple and common-sense steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their property.

This “streetwise” approach includes:

  • Planning your journey, telling someone where you’re going, and using well lit routes to get there
  • Being observant and concealing your valuables
  • Being wary of strangers and avoiding confrontation

One bit of advice is to avoid making mobile phone calls in public places. Sergeant Roughneed advised that if you have to make a call in public, always do so with your back up against a wall or a shop window. This is so that you can see around you and be less vulnerable to being attacked.

“We want people to enjoy themselves when out, and taking a few easy steps can greatly reduce the chances of their day or night being ruined,” said Sgt Roughneen.

These include remaining observant, be conscious of your alcohol intake, don’t make it easy for a thief to take your phone by leaving it on the table, and avoid walking in dark locations. Working together, we can reduce the opportunities available to criminals.

The National Crime Prevention Day of Action will see Gardaí around the country engage with communities to provide practical advice to enhance personal safety and security.

The new advice comes as St Patrick’s Day is about to be celebrated across Ireland.

“People naturally enough will be out socialising,” said Sgt Roughneen of this national holiday.

We want people to be aware – when you’re out drinking, and especially when you are intoxicated, you are much more vulnerable and you are less aware of your surroundings.

He said that while public order offences are decreasing, there is an average of 79 disorderly conduct offences every day.

There have been anecdotal stories about phones being robbed from people’s hands by thieves cycling past, which Sgt Roughneen said is also something that has been reported to them.

He recommends people take a careful note of the IMEI number on their phone, which can be found if you type *#06# into your handset, in case it is stolen.

Stranger danger

Sgt Roughneen also had advice for people if they intend meeting with a stranger, saying:

  • Tell someone what your plans are and what time you are due home
  • If you have a mobile phone, if necessary have the gardaí on speed-dial
  • Don’t be afraid to call 999 if you feel in danger

He also cautioned against people wearing valuable cameras or similar items on their person, saying that tourists should try to blend into their surroundings “and if possible not to stand out in any way as being vulnerable”.

Further crime prevention advice relating to personal safety is available from

Read: Here’s how many crimes were committed by people on bail last year>

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