As well as a time for giving, Xmas can also be a time for taking.
Thieves know that there are many easy targets, as people are distracted by the festivities and give little thought to their safety or that of their property.
Here is a list of some of the simple things that you can do to keep safe during the festive season. Nothing spoils the spirit of Xmas faster than being a victim of crime!
Xmas Markets and Shopping
Xmas Markets are perfect targets for thieves, as they are crowded, and people are usually under the influence of alcohol.
Planning the Trip
- It’s always best to go to the Xmas markets with at least one other person – safety in numbers.
- Wear a coat with inner pockets that can be fastened. Keep your mobile, keys, wallet/purse etc in these pockets and fasten them.
- Keep your mobile in a separate pocket from your wallet/purse, so that if it’s stolen you can still use your mobile to report the loss. Otherwise the thief may use your cards before you can cancel them.
- Limit the amount of cash you carry, or split it up into different pockets/bags to minimise any potential loss.
- Use debit credit cards to avoid carrying cash, but keep them handy to avoid having the fumble around searching for them. Keep them in a safe place when not using them.
- Don’t keep your PIN with the cards. If you really can’t remember it, disguise it as a phone number (ie: 0521 1357 2468 – the PIN being 4 of the numbers within it – but DON’T mark which 4 they are).
- Keep a record of your card numbers and the emergency telephone numbers for reporting their loss with you, so that you can immediately report their loss.
- Don’t openly wear expensive jewellery or watches in crowded places: they are a likely target for robbery or theft.
- If taking your children with you, make sure they know what to do if they become separated from you.
- Take care at cashpoints:
- Always shield your PIN from view when typing it in.
- Be wary of people hanging around a cashpoint for no apparent purpose – if unsure, go to another cashpoint.
- Consider making purchases of expensive items last, so you can head straight to the car with them.
Parking the Car
- Consider using public transport rather than taking the car.
- If you take the car, always park in a place which will be well lit if you may return to the car after dark.
- Never leave anything valuable on view in the car; not even coins for the parking fees.
- Keep any valuables and your shopping out of sight in the boot. If your car doesn’t have a boot, use the sliding cover on the cargo area to hide the items.
- Always fully secure the car, and set the alarm.
- Don’t hide a spare key under the wheel arch – thieves will look there.
- Don’t leave valuables in the glove compartment, and leave it open to show that there’s nothing worth stealing: otherwise a thief may break in just on the off chance.
- Have your keys ready in your hand when you get back to the car: don’t stand by it fumbling for them in your bag or pockets.
- Be wary of people hanging around the payment machines in multi-storey car parks. If you feel unsure wait until they have left.
Home Security and Property Marking
There has been previous advice on this subject; however, at this time of year there are a few extra points to consider:
- DO NOT put on any form of Social Media that you will be away from your home for Xmas.
- Don’t leave presents under the tree if they can be seen from outside the house.
- Don’t leave the empty boxes from the presents on display outside; especially from expensive electrical items: they advertise the fact that there are tempting targets in the house. Put the boxes in the cellar or garage.
- Don’t leave large amounts of cash in the home.
Preventing crime is everyone’s business.
Further Crime Prevention advice is available from the Royal Military Police.
RMP telephone numbers: