Grumpy Christmas Cheer

Sensible seasonal advice on how to prevent crime

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Crime is known to increase during the festive season.  Below are various ways in which criminals with no sympathy whatsoever, steal, cheat and scam unsuspecting members of the public out of money and property. 

Whenever leaving premises unoccupied day or night always ensure that windows and doors are closed and secured.  If the property is going to be unoccupied for any length of time leave a light on. During dark winter months timer switches are a good investment.  The police also advise that when leaving a home unoccupied, it is a good idea to leave a radio on.   Do not leave gifts inside the home that can be seen from the street.  Do not leave house or vehicle keys anywhere near letterboxes, back doors or windows.  Ensure that garden sheds are securely locked.  After the Festive Season do not advertise what could be found inside the home by leaving attractive packaging outside the front of the house ready for refuse/recycling collection. Cardboard gift packaging should be turned inside out before placing in the green recycling bin.

Thefts from Restaurants, Pubs, Bars, Coffee Shops, Shops and Public Place
Criminals watch your every move very closely.  Working inside restaurants, pubs, bars, or indeed any public area, thieves will focus on anything of value that appears to be unattended.  Never leave a wallet in a jacket pocket placed on the back of a seat, or in an overcoat left on a coat stand. And if carrying a handbag, briefcase, lap top, tablet, or mobile phone, never place them anywhere where they are out of sight, even for a moment.

Public Transport
Take care at busy railway/underground stations and onboard crowded trains/buses. Keep anything of value close to you and never place them anywhere out of sight.

Banks, Post Offices, Cash Machines
When visiting banks, Post Offices or cash machines to withdraw monies, please ensure that you are not being watched and targeted.  When leaving a bank or a cash machine, do not be distracted by anyone.  Never carry large amounts of cash bank/credit cards in one place like a wallet or a purse, spread them around your person so as not  to make it a quick and easy target for thieves.

Christmas Wreaths
Christmas Wreaths attached to front doors have a habit of going missing.  Please secure yours securely to avoid any ‘mysterious’ disappearances.

Vehicle Crime
Even if they cannot be seen by passersby, do not leave seasonal gifts or anything of value inside motor vehicles and warn visitors to your home to do the same.

Unsolicited Callers
Beware of any cold caller who may visit your home asking for a donation to a known or completely unknown charity.  Always ensure that when donating to charity that your money is going to a legitimate cause and not into the pockets of criminals. Check any callers identification thoroughly and whatever the pretext, do not let anyone enter your home who you do not know and who you were not expecting.

Email and Internet Crime
Beware of unsolicited emails and web sites offering expensive goods at remarkable knocked down prices.  What may seem a terrific bargain may be a criminal’s way of obtaining your credit/debit card details?  Also be aware of ‘urgent’ emails sent to you that appear to come from your Building Society/Bank/ Debit Card Company warning you that there has been fraudulent use of your bank/debit cards and never telephone the number shown on these email. 

Beware of fraudster who make cold telephone calls, claiming that there has been fraudulent use of your account and who then proceed to talk their victim into divulging their confidential card/pin number details. To make this type of fraud even more convincing, the fraudster may even invite their victim to put the telephone down and telephone their bank or credit/debit card company to confirm the accounts misuse.  Only the fraudster does not put their telephone receiver down but waits for their victim to pick up their telephone to dial out, and when they do the fraudster is waiting on the other end of the phone ready to respond.

It is strongly advisable to keep a note of Building Society/Bank/Debit Card Emergency Telephone Numbers with you at all times.

Illegal Street Vendors
Do not purchase anything from anyone approaching you in the street and/or who have set up an illegal street pitch offering what they claim to be top quality electronic goods, perfume or aftershave (or similar).  More often than not you will be purchasing a poorly made imitation or worse a neatly wrapped box of worthless items.  And ignore those who appear to be purchasing these items quite happily from street vendors, as they are there to make the scam look legitimate.

Distraction Theft in Shops
When shopping, do not leave a wallet or a purse at the top of a shopping bag.  Be instantly aware if anyone edges their way close to you, or if someone you do not know suddenly engages you in 'friendly' conversation.  Working in teams and sometimes using children as cover, what appears to be a friendly seasonal conversation or an accidental knock followed by an apology, often leads to a theft of a wallet or a purse

Many crimes committed are opportunistic crimes
and can be prevented if we all remain vigilant at all times

December 11, 2014

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