Gardaí are appealing for smartphone owners to be streetwise by downloading a trusted find my phone app and adding an emergency contact number to their phone.
The appeal follows the release of figures by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service which show that a total of 461 mobile phones were stolen in Cork.
The breakdown of figures shows that 368 phones were stolen in the city, 68 were stolen in North Cork and 25 were stolen in West Cork.
A total of 11,488 mobile phones worth a combined €5 million have been stolen across the country since the beginning of 2019, of which only 1,176 have been recovered.
Crime Prevention Officer for the Meath Division, Sergeant Dean Kerins said that the price of mobile phones makes them a clear target for criminals and encouraged people to 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 you 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,” he said.
Those who do not own a smartphone can call *#06# using their keypad and note the 15 digit IMEI number that comes up and is unique to their phone.
“If your phone is lost or stolen, call your service provider immediately so they can block the phone.
"If you believe your phone has been stolen, you should call Gardaí immediately. Do not follow the person via your tracking app”, warned Sergeant Kerins.
With the most common place for phones to be stolen being out in public or in a licensed premises, gardaí have also advised people to be wary of their surroundings and mind their property, to plan their night out and know how they’re getting home, to avoid walking in dark places, keep their phone out of public view, not leave it on on display in a vehicle, to keep their phone locked and download or activate a trusted find my phone app.