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On the Beat: Top tips for staying safe and crime-free this Christmas

Sergeant Nick Searle gives his tips for staying safe and crime-free this Christmas
Sergeant Nick Searle gives his tips for staying safe and crime-free this Christmas

With the festive period upon us, communities across Scotland become busier day and night with shoppers and people out celebrating.

I would like to take this opportunity to ensure people have a great time by providing some basic prevention advice and tips on keeping safe – whether shopping, socialising, within the home or online.

Unfortunately, there are those who exploit the festive period for the wrong reasons.

Prevention is essential in removing opportunities for criminals providing a safe environment for us all during this busy period.

On the run-up to Christmas, everyone is busy making preparations, whether out shopping, buying gifts online or out celebrating with friends and family.

We are asking you to take a moment to think about the simple preventative measures you can take to discourage criminals and to stay safe.

Shop safe

In recent years there has been a notable increase in online shopping.

Use only trusted online retailers and never give out personal or financial information if you are unsure about the internet site’s authenticity.

If you think you have been the victim of online fraud report it to your bank immediately and call 101.

When out and about hold onto belongings including new purchases and never leave possessions unattended.

Be wary of anyone getting too close to your personal space especially when entering your pin when purchasing something or withdrawing money from a cash machine.

Park and secure your vehicle in a well-lit area when shopping and don’t leave valuable items within on open display.

Online safety please think of the possible consequences of posting photos of your Christmas night out online. Think first and if in doubt don’t click!

Party safe

Be aware of the dangers when considering taking drugs or new psychoactive substances.

These are sometimes misleading and referred to as ‘legal highs’.  Legal doesn’t mean safe and can contain toxic and harmful chemicals.

Taking “legal” or illegal drugs, there is the potential for causing yourself medical harm.

These do not come with labels explaining the ingredients and you cannot be certain of what you are ingesting.

Obviously, with illegal drugs, there is also potential for criminality and depending on the circumstances, you could end up charged with possession of drugs or intent to supply drugs.

Plan your journey home, especially at this time of year when the weather can be unpredictable and outside temperatures can drop quickly.

Driving whilst under the influence of any drugs or alcohol will impair your judgement and the safety of yourself and others.

Use public transport, a licenced taxi, or arrange a lift with someone you know.

Travel safe

Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and ready for the winter conditions, such as having sufficient tyre tread, lights in working order and washer fluid.

Drive responsibility and to the road conditions.

Keep essential items in your vehicle in case you cannot leave it for a long period of time.

Home safe

Make sure that your house is kept secure and that gifts aren’t left in view through windows or doors.

Get into the habit of checking the security of your home before going to bed at night.

Remember outbuildings are an extension of your home so please make sure they are all secure too.

If you are away during the Christmas period do not advertise the fact that your home will be unoccupied.

Let’s make it a safe and happy Christmas to remember!

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