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Shopping safely

Here we are with Christmas snapping at our heels all over again. It doesn’t seem possible; we’ve only just put away the tree from last year and finished the Easter Eggs!

As our shopping centres start filling up to bursting point with shoppers, Police are out in force to dissuade those inclined to help themselves, from committing crimes. People caught helping themselves in stores WILL be arrested and prosecuted.

There is an assumption from some thieves that stealing from shops is a victimless crime. Clearly that is not the case, and we all finish up paying increased prices to cover the cost of those who help themselves. In the current economic climate, smaller traders particularly can ill afford to have their stock stolen.

Often, shoplifting gangs will travel from outside the area to target a town, fill their bags, and then move on. Police will be at bus and rail stations targeting those that thought it might be a good idea to travel to Hampshire to steal someone else’s Christmas.

Whilst being jostled in the throng, it is easy for a pickpocket to have your purse or wallet out of your bag, or pocket. Avoid using a back pocket for your wallet, and keep your handbag zipped up at all times. If you have a zipped pocket in your jacket, that will also slow down any would-be thief.

Keep an eye on your shopping bags too. There are many distractions at this time of year, and if you have your young children with you, they too will be excited (even more excited than you!) and take more of your attention. It only takes a moment for someone to pick up one of your shopping bags and walk away with it. You may not even notice until you get home, and then wonder if you’re going mad as you were sure you’d bought…..

When loading your car in supermarket car parks, keep an eye on your trolley. Again, it only takes a moment for someone to walk by and take something from the top of your trolley whilst you are putting your handbag in the front of the car, or strapping your children into their seats. A bottle of spirits or even a joint of meat can easily disappear without you even noticing, and can be quite expensive to replace.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without mentioning drinking and driving. Of course, you can’t drive whilst unfit through drink or drugs at any time of the year and few of us would be foolish enough to do so. However, please remember that it can take some while for alcohol to leave your system so if you are driving the following day after a good party, you may still be over the limit.

If you suspect a drink driver or have information about ANY crime, please do not hesitate to give Crimestoppers a call on 0800 555 111 or log on to www.crimestoppers- uk.org where you can also give information and remain anonymous. For those tweeters amongst you, please follow me @HantsCrimestopp for regular Crimestoppers updates.

I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Article posted on: 03 December 2013

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