Keep yourself and your belongings safe this Christmas

As the festive season approaches South Yorkshire Police hope you have a very happy and safe Christmas.

South Yorkshire Police Crime Reduction Officer Dene Tinker offers the following advice to avoid you becoming a victim of theft whilst out shopping and socialising.

“Pickpockets don’t always operate alone, they may work in teams to distract a person while someone unseen removes the items and blends back into the crowd.

“Pickpockets can also operate in shops and department stores, where people are more likely to be standing still, distracted and so paying less attention to their belongings, making them an easier target.

“Be more aware of your surroundings in busy shops and shopping centres because they’re ideal places for pickpockets, as it’s easier for them to brush past people, take items and blend into the crowd.”

  • Do keep purses and bags closed and secure at all times
  • Do carry bags in front of you or diagonally across your chest
  • Do return cards to your purse or wallet quickly and zip it up or button it
  • Do use a purse that’s difficult to open. One that zips or snaps shut is best, and keep it closed
  • Do use a money belt if you’re carrying a significant quantity of cash
  • Do conceal your wallet in a buttoned or zipped pocket where it doesn’t bulge
  • Do keep a list, separate from your wallet and phone, of contact numbers of family in case your phone is stolen
  • Do keep a photocopy of your travel cards, passport, credit cards and any other documents that would be impossible or inconvenient to replace if stolen.

This is what Dene advises you NOT to do:

  • Don’t hang bags/coats on the back of a chair
  • Don’t leave your bags on shopping trollies unattended
  • Don’t leave anything on the back of a pushchair
  • Don’t place your belongings out of sight on the floor
  • Don’t be distracted at ATM machines & put your cash away as soon as possible.

Dene added: “Remember, having a zipped bag doesn’t mean you’re totally safe. Thieves have been known to walk behind victims while slowly unzipping bags. Yes, they can be that bold, but never underestimate a pickpocket.

“Lastly, trust your instincts in all situations and remember… If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t, so walk away!”

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