27 November 2007
ARE YOU REVEALING TOO MUCH THIS CHRISTMAS?
Christmas is upon us once again. Traditionally a time of joy and fun, many of us will be rushing around in preparation for the big day. Unfortunately the feeling of good will is not shared by all and there are some out there who see this as an opportunity to get away with criminal behaviour.
Crowded Streets: Your local shops and high streets are going to get more and more crowded. This is the ideal condition for a pickpocket who can sweep in and out of a handbag and disappear into a crowd of eager shoppers, knowing full well purses will likely be full of cash to be spent on presents. Pay attention to your bag as you would normally. Make sure it is closed and close to hand and within eyeshot.
Too many presents: Buying presents often means you are burdened with many hefty shopping bags. Consider making more trips to the shops and reducing the load of each trip.
Parking: Be aware where you park. Use a well-lit car park - not somewhere that will be lonely and dark when you return. Keep your vehicle secure and do not keep valuables on display.
What's On Display? Once you have brought your presents home, be thoughtful of where you are going to keep them. Once you have wrapped them up and put them under your tree consider if they will be on display to the outside world. A lot of houses like to display their trees and decorations but it is worth bearing in mind that a burglar could be doing some Christmas window-shopping down your street!
Going Away: If you are planning on going away for the holidays make sure you leave your house secure. An automatic timer for your lights can give the impression that your house is occupied and ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property also.
Charity Collectors: Some will take advantage of the goodwill in the air at this time of year and pretend to be collecting for charity. If a collector does turn up on your doorstep, do not think twice about asking to see identification if you are unsure. All collectors from registered charities will carry a card and not be offended at all if you ask. There are other ways of donating as well, such as from your bank account, and these are worth thinking about if you do not feel comfortable giving your money to a stranger.
Out and about
Drinking: Be careful also when out on the town with your office Christmas celebrations. Be sensible about the amount you drink. Intoxication will make you more vulnerable a target and make you more likely to lose something important like your keys.
Getting Home: Try to stay with friends throughout the night and not end up alone and vulnerable, and try to make prior arrangements on how to get home. Tell someone what you are planning and when you expect to be back as well.
Illegal Minicabs: No matter how tired you are, avoid the temptation of getting into an illegal minicab in the street. The driver has not been vetted and could have a criminal record for assault. Not only that; they might not even be insured or even guaranteed to hold a driving license.
"Think before you drink".
The Christmas period always sees a rise in the number of people drink driving. The police are well aware of this and step up their efforts to detect this offence, and this year will be no different. A single drink can mean the difference between having an accident or not - and that can mean the difference between someone dying and staying alive, be it yourself or a complete stranger.
Don't ruin Christmas, and someone's life - don't drink drive.
Penalties: If you are caught, the penalties are severe. You will receive a 12-month driving ban, and receive a criminal record. You might even receive a custodial sentence. On top of that, this will have knock on effects to other areas in your life such as losing your job, your car or the respect of your friends.
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