Garda launch ‘Streetwise’ campaign to combat phone theft

An Garda Síochána is running a campaign to raise awareness about mobile phone theft on nights out.The personal safety campaign, ‘Streetwise’, will be seen online, in pubs and on outdoor advertisements.Statistics released by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service (GSAS) reveal that €2.5 million worth of phones were stolen in 2016. This new campaign targets 18-39-year-olds who represent 75% of the victims of phone theft.Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit says the objective is to remind “people to be streetwise when out in public as 40% of all thefts and robberies took place on a street, road or footpath with a further 20% taking place in a licensed premise”.The advertising focuses on the need for people to have a plan when going out. The GSAS revealed that 2 in 5 thefts occur between 10pm and 4am between Friday and Sunday.An Garda Síochána is using the hashtag #mindyourstuff on social media where it hopes to reach the intended age demographic. One of the adverts uses the acronym PLANS to advise people to plan their night out, let someone know where they’ll be, avoid walking alone in dark places, never attempt to reason with drunk people, and be streetwise.In addition to the campaign, there will be increased patrolling of areas with high robbery incidences. Courtney wants people to take the necessary precautions whilst on nights out and says “Mind yourselves, mind your stuff and have a plan”.These campaigns have proven to be effective in the past and this one aims to continue the progress. Last year’s phone theft total was 5,703 which represents a decrease of 14% from 2015. A similar campaign last March resulted in a 22% decline in phone thefts compared to March of the previous year.