Gardaí are appealing for smartphone owners to be more ‘Streetwise’ by downloading a trusted “find my phone” app, and adding an emergency contact number to their phone.

An Garda Siochana claims that of the €5m worth of mobile phones stolen, only 10% are recovered.

The appeal follows the release of figures by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service which shows that 11,488 mobile phones have been stolen since the beginning of 2019. Of those, only 1,176 have been recovered.

Speaking at the campaign launch yesterday (Tuesday), Crime Prevention Officer for the Meath Division, Sergeant Dean Kerins said: “The price of mobile phones makes them a clear target for criminals, so let’s try and deter them by increasing phone security. If you 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 people 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.

“For those who do not own a smartphone, call *#06# on your keypad and note the IMEI number that comes up-a 15 digit number that is unique to a specific phone.