Festive crime prevention advice

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Now that we are into December, the festive period is a time when people can become vulnerable to theft as the shopping thoroughfares in the city centre and elsewhere in the city become busier and busier.

Tayside Police is urging shoppers to take care of their personal security, their cash, belongings and purchases.

Seasonal trends highlight a noticeable increase in crimes of opportunity at this time of year, including the theft of wallets, purses and bags and other unattended property.

There is also the added heartbreak attached to newly bought gifts destined for loved ones at Christmas being stolen – whether from cars after being left in plain sight, from unattended shopping bags, or from under a Christmas tree within an insecure home.

Tayside Police appeal to everyone to make Christmas a misery for the opportunist thief by adopting a common sense approach to safety and security.

Make sure that your wallet, purse or cash is safely put away and out of sight when shopping.

Women should keep their purses hidden from view in their handbags and keep bags zipped or fastened shut and close to them at all times.

Never let your bag out of your sight, not even for a few seconds.

Handbags should never be left on a supermarket shopping trolley, or in an unlocked car while returning a trolley.

A few seconds is all it takes to steal unattended property.

When queuing at cash machines, people should not allow anyone to see their secure details and should not walk away from the machine with cash in hand. Put it away before you walk away.

If possible, avoid carrying large sums of cash when shopping. Credit and debit cards are a safer option and, unlike cash, can be cancelled if lost or stolen.

Tayside Police and Community Safety Wardens will once again be operating high profile patrols of the City Centre and other areas to deter any criminal activity.

Drivers should look out for the blue “Park Mark” signs that signify the car park has passed a stringent assessment by the police and is a safer place to park.

Anyone who leaves their car in daylight and doesn’t plan to return until after dark should think ahead and park where there is good street lighting.

All car doors should be locked and property should never be in open view. Remove it from the vehicle or lock it out of sight in the boot.

Portable sat nav systems should be removed from the car if it is being left unoccupied and drivers should also remove the cradle and suction pads and remember to wipe any suction marks from the windscreen or dashboard.

Use an alarm or immobiliser if the vehicle has one. If not, consider having one fitted.

Importantly, people should get in to the habit of always locking the car doors every time they leave the car, whether on the garage forecourt, outside a shop, or unloading the car or defrosting it outside the home address.

An opportunist thief can strike in seconds.

With regard to home security – and this is a time of year when there are more valuable items at home than at any other time of year – please take every sensible precaution to ensure you are not a victim of crime.

Close and lock doors and windows even when you are at home.

If you go out, make sure that your home still appears to be occupied, even if it isn’t.

If you have an alarm – use it.

Set lights and perhaps a radio on timer switches and consider fitting outside lights.

The Community Safety Team can supply a range of home security devices, including timer switches for a very reasonable price. They can be contacted on (01382) 436333.

Please keep this advice in mind. Tayside Police hopes it will help to ensure that people have a very happy and crime free Christmas and New Year.

Anyone who is witness to a crime or suspicious incident should call Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222.