Christmas is almost upon us. For a lot of people in a lot of different ways it is a very special time of the year. For many it is a time for visiting family and friends, the giving of gifts and attending parties and social functions.
I would like to share with you all a few hints and tips for helping to have a crime free, happy, mishap free Christmas.
Keep doors and windows locked at all times, even when in the house.
Keep presents out of sight. Large piles of gift wrapped presents under the tree that are visible through a door or window are tempting to thieves.
Don’t leave empty boxes on display outside. Discarded packaging advertises all the new goods you have indoors.
Don’t leave car keys and handbags as well as other small easily portable items of value on display from outside your house.
Make it look like someone is at home when you’re going out for the evening. Leave lights on and close curtains. If you have a burglar alarm, set it.
If you’re going on holiday over the festive period, ask a friend, relative or neighbour to keep an eye on your house. If they can get them to change things in and around your home giving the illusion that the house is still being lived in.
Don’t leave presents in view in the car when out shopping. These can be tempting to thieves. Lock them out of sight.
Always lock your car and make sure windows are closed, even if you are away from your vehicle for just a few minutes.
Never leave your keys in the ignition whilst your vehicle is unattended, even for a few minutes. Opportunistic thieves will often steal cars that have been left with the engine running to defrost the windows.
Don’t leave valuables in the glove compartment. Take bank cards, mobile phones and satellite navigation systems with you. These items are on a car thieves’ shopping list.
Ensure you park in a well lit area or in an attended car park.
If you have returned to your car to deposit shopping and intend to return to do more shopping consider parking your car in a different location in case you have been seen depositing your shopping.
Make sure all valuable property is marked. You can either postcode mark your property with an ultra violet pen, or use a forensic marking solution such as Smartwater.
Register bike frame numbers, mobile phone IMEI numbers and other identifying details on Immobilise, the free, national property registration scheme – http://www.immobilise.com/
The police recover hundreds of stolen items every year, and it’s much easier to prove that an item is stolen and return it to the rightful owner if it has been registered with Immobilise or security marked.
Be alert when you go out, and make sure your purse or wallet is secure and hidden from view. Don’t carry large amounts of cash on you.
Don’t keep your chequebook and card together. Keep your PIN confidential and don’t write it down.
Check that your home insurance adequately covers you for the value of goods in your home.
Passing stolen goods:
You can make it difficult for criminals to operate by not purchasing stolen property. If you are offered a quality product at a bargain price you should be thinking is this too good to be true – ensure that the source is genuine.
If there is nobody to supply to, the demand is reduced – which results in less being stolen!
Drink & Drugs while Driving:
Many people will be visiting family and friends or attending parties at this time of year.
Ensure that you have nominated drivers driving to and from where ever you are going. People will sometimes try to calculate what alcohol they have drunk and decide whether they will be able to drive and be under the legal limit. The safest way and only way to be sure is to not drink any alcoholic drinks at all if you driving.
Having been out for the evening and drunk large quantities of alcohol people can still find themselves over the legal limit when they drive the following day. The chances of being over the limit are increased if the person has gone to bed late and/or is getting up early the next morning. Consider your plans fro the following day before you start drinking and plan accordingly.
Officers across Avon & Somerset force area are carrying out stop-checks throughout the month of December and increasing patrols in hot spot areas, including more isolated locations and rat runs.
The message is clear – if you’re getting behind the wheel, steer clear of alcohol and drugs. The penalties are severe:
Drink drivers face up to six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and a driving ban of at least 12 months.
- Anyone causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink could be imprisoned for up to 10 years and banned for up to two years.
- Refusal to provide a breath specimen could lead to a six month prison sentence, a fine of up to £5,000 and a 12 month ban from driving.
Above all look out for each other and look after yourselves. From the DC122 Neighbourhood Policing Team; PCSO Andy POUND and PC Finbar SIMMONS have a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year