The police have issued advice to residents about ensuring they have a crime-free Christmas.
Crime prevention officer Mike Radcliffe said: ‘I realise that I say the same things every year but experience repeatedly shows that, as throughout the rest of the year, the majority of offences committed during the holiday period are opportunist. You might be busy trying to arrange a myriad of things – parties, family visits, buying last-minute presents, deciding what to eat for Christmas dinner. However, don’t be too busy to take basic precautions - “think security”.’
Keep your home secure: lock all windows and doors when going out; use timer switches for lights when your house is empty; don’t leave keys in door locks; keep valuables such as handbags, phones and vehicle keys well away from front and back doors; where possible, lock cars in garages; If you have an intruder alarm, remember to use it; keep presents hidden away before Christmas; if you ‘hide’ or store larger items such as bicycles in a garden shed or outbuilding, make sure they are secure to prevent burglary and can also be useful where the homeowners are elderly.
Alert police of any suspicious incidents.
If going away, tell a neighbour and leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbour.
Don’t forget to cancel newspapers and milk if you have them delivered. Have your neighbour take post into the house – unopened Christmas cards and letters are a sure sign that a house is empty.
Bicycles are always popular Christmas presents – they’re also popular with thieves. Write down serial numbers of all valuable presents and where possible mark your postcode on the item.
Don’t carry your purse or wallet on view on the top of your handbag or shopping bag. Remember to keep your bag fastened.