[P]olice in North Cumbria are reminding people to secure their vehicles, homes and businesses this festive season in order to prevent becoming a victim to Christmas thieves.
Thieves are active at this time of year knowing that properties may be holding expensive personal goods and cash. Advice from police is to take simple steps such as locking doors and windows to reduce the chance of criminals profiting at your expense.
Detective Chief Inspector Helen Harkins, North Cumbria CID, said: “Christmas is a very busy time for most people, unfortunately this also stretches to criminals. They look to take advantage at this time year knowing that expensive items will be stored in homes and that property security may be a lower priority with everything else that is going on during the festive period for people.
“Be aware of where you keep gifts and don’t advertise the fact that you have completed your Christmas shopping on social media as this may alert potential thieves. The same goes if you leaving your home for a length of time.
“The best piece of advice we can give you is ensure everything is locked before you leave. Thieves look to target insecure properties which allows them easy access to expensive possessions.
“Businesses, like shoppers, will be busy in the run up to Christmas and security can drift to the back of their thoughts, but it is so important that business owners and employees are careful not to give thieves any motivation. This means making sure that locks, bolts and latches are sufficient, and that intruder alarms are working.
“It also means being careful with cash – ensure that cashing up procedures are completed out of view of customers or passing members of the public, and that tills that are visible through windows out of hours are left open and empty. Ideally, you should avoid leaving cash on the premises.
“We would like everyone to enjoy the Christmas period free from the stress and hurt caused by becoming a victim of crime.”
What can you do? Some simple, basic advice is:
- Lock doors and windows before you go out and ensure that your house/keys are secure before you go to bed.
- Remove keys from locks and keep out of reach, not on a hall table, take them to bed with you or put them out of sight.
- Ensure side gates and sheds are locked with a good quality padbolt for example.
- Keep cash and valuables locked away safe or well hidden.
- Consider increasing your security with good quality locks, chains and lighting.
Anyone who has any suspicion that someone may be in the process of burgling their home or a neighbour’s home, should contact police immediately on 999. If you have information on any incidents please contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.