Public awareness needs to be heightened about this growing danger in Dublin
Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today spoken out about her concern at the rise in petty crime relating to smartphones.
Citing recent statistics that show that an estimated 16,000 phones were stolen in Dublin in 2012, Senator Noone said: ‘This is an alarming trend that is rising. A number of things need to happen here – first and foremost, all smartphone owners should have their IMEI number to hand – which is a unique number to each handset that can lock it indefinitely. If a phone is stolen they can have it deactivated in one of the most effective possible ways if they have their IMEI number.
“Surprisingly, only 15% of owners knew the IMEI numbers of phones stolen in Dublin. This should be remedied, and I think an extensive public information campaign on safeguarding your smartphone is in order. I believe this campaign should also alert people to methods in which smartphones are stolen, which include thieves snatching the phones from people as they ride by on their bicycles.
“Dublin City Council has released an excellent leaflet, advising people on how to protect their phone. However I think that, given the extent of the problem, a wider public information campaign needs to be undertaken. I also believe that more has to be done along the lines of retailer best practice, as well as by ensuring that petty crimes such as this are punished in a more serious way.
“There are useful security apps which users can upload including iGotya which takes a photo of whoever is holding the phone following an unsuccessful password login and emails it to the owner of the phone. The Find My iPhone app allows users to get pinpoint information on exactly where their phone is. I would urge smartphone users to upload available security apps so as to increase the chances of finding their phones and apprehending the thieves.
“Maybe it’s the case that for every crime of this type committed, a larger fine would be imposed and – if on social welfare – payments would be reduced for a period of time. With this trend going up, it’s clear that something has to be done.”