Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Thieves to target crowds at St Patrick's Day and 1916 events, gardaí warn

Thieves will be taking advantage of the fact that people will be distracted in the city centre.

OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES ARE expected to take advantage of the crowds at the St Patrick’s Day parade and 1916 events this month.

St Patrick’s Day and the period around it experienced higher levels of thefts and robbery in 2014 and last year, according to gardaí.

Speaking to Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit said there would usually be more thefts and robberies on St Patrick’s Day than a normal March day.

Spring time in general, we get more because with the weather people are out and about more, so if there are more opportunities you’ll see increased activity.

“It stands to reason that if you have more people around you have more opportunities for opportunist thieves to operate,” he said.

Courtney said people are likely to be distracted,with large parades planned for St Patrick’s Day and for Easter Sunday in Dublin as part of the 1916 centenary.

Since the beginning of 2015 the total value of items taken during thefts and robbery incidents was €4,387,883. The most common items were mobile phones, followed by cash, and handbags, purses and wallets.

Yesterday gardaí warned people to be particularly vigilant when it comes to keeping their smartphones secure, with more than 7,000 of them stolen from people since the start of last year.

“I don’t want to frighten people – you just have to be a bit more careful, ” Courtney said. “Keep your phone safely on your person. In handbags, make sure they’re securely closed.

If you need to make a phonecall, do it somewhere where you’re aware of your surroundings.”

Read: ‘Snatch and grabs’ on the rise as gardaí urge vigilance with smartphones>

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

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