With Christmas just over a month away(!), many of us will be hitting the shops – hard. It’s the busiest period for shopping all year round; however, it’s also the busiest period in a thieves calendar. And with the crowds, noise, hustle-bustle, and screaming children, it’s easy to get distracted or disoriented.
Around this time of year, many police forces begin issuing seasonal crime prevention messages about the risks associated with Christmas shopping, where the high streets are rammed if opportunist pickpocketers.
As a professional security company, Diony Security is well aware of the risks posed to people shopping in busy areas during the festive period. Therefore, we have compiled a list of handy tips to help prevent theft of personal items and keep your belongings safe.
1.Keep your bag secure to prevent ‘purse dipping.’
Keep your purse, mobile phone, wallet, and bank cards out of sight in a fastened, zipped handbag to avoid thieves grabbing your personal items. Ensure pickpockets are unable to gain easy access or visibility to your important items.
Women should ensure the catch of their handbag is facing towards their body for the maximum protection; men should keep their wallets in a front trouser pocket – not the outer jacket pocket.
2.Be wary of people loitering around cash machines
Cardholders should be mindful of people hanging around ATMs. Thieves have been known to tamper with cash machines or steal credit and bank cards, and Christmas is a prime time of year to be withdrawing large quantities of money.
In addition, when entering your PIN number into a cash machine, always keep the keypad covered by your hand and take note of who is around you.
3. Consider making big purchases last
If you plan to make a particularly valuable purchase, consider doing so at the end of your shopping trip. The less time you are walking around with expensive items, the less chance they have of being stolen or lost.
Additionally, certain stores may be able to hold your items back for you until you have finished your shopping trip. If so, we recommend using this service and picking up for shopping on your way back to the car.
4. Keep a note of important information
Keep a record of your bank account number and sort code, as well as any emergency telephone numbers in case your cards or phone are stolen. This will ensure you can contact the appropriate people as quickly as possible and cancel your cards before anyone has a chance to use them.
5. Don’t leave shopping on view
If you decide to take your shopping back to the car before heading out for round two, be sure to conceal any present or packages somewhere secure. A pickpocket may be more inclined to break into your vehicle if the goodies are on display. Instead, keep items locked out of sight in the boot.
6. Park your vehicle in a lit area
If you are shopping during the day, remember that the nights draw in pretty quickly at this time of year. It is important to park in a lit area and where you are visible to the public to ensure the safety of yourself and your belongings.
If possible, park in the car parks of big retail shops and shopping malls – they will have much better lighting and security measures for their customers.
7. Once in the car, secure it from the inside
Thieves jumping into an unlocked car whilst you are busy sending a text or preparing for your journey home is not uncommon. To prevent this, the first thing you should do when you get in the car is to lock all the doors from the inside.
8. Take a SAFE break
Just the thought of going Christmas shopping can be tiresome, so it’s no wonder many of us take a lunch or coffee break mid-way through. If you are doing so with a handful of bags, do not place these – or your handbag – on the back of your chair.
Keep all bags on the floor directly in front of you, and put a chair leg over the strap or handle of your bag to keep it secure while you are sat down.
9. Use large bags to store purchases
Consider bringing large carrier bags with you on a shopping trip. There is a strong chance that you will be making purchases from lots of different shops, and it can be difficult to keep an eye on all of the bags.
Put smaller bags into the large bag to keep all of your items in one place. Consolidating all of your items in one place will reduce the risk of theft or of accidentally dropping one.
From the blog of Diony Security