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‘Have Yourself A Wary Little Christmas’ Say Police

Published on: 16 Dec, 2013
Updated on: 21 Dec, 2013

Wary-Little-Xmas-475Surrey Police is launching its Christmas campaign today (December 16) with an advisory note to everyone to “Have yourself a wary little Christmas”.

This year’s Operation Yuletide is aiming to encourage everyone to take that extra step to ensure they look after themselves and enjoy the festivities without falling victim to crime.

The 2013 campaign focuses on the force’s priority of “Keeping People Safe” and helping residents, workers and visitors alike to be prepared.

Leading the two week campaign, Superintendent Chris Moon said: “I want people to have fun and enjoy their preparations and festivities by exercising a little caution and being wary of the type of crime which can ruin their Christmas or New Year. The campaign is therefore looking at how the public can empower themselves and take measures to ensure their own safety.”

Analysis from the past three years shows two main types of crime affecting the people of Surrey during the Christmas and New Year period between December 20 and January 5 period are assaults and theft.

The assault (ABH) offences predominantly take place in town centres at night where there is a lively night time economy and are likely to happen in or around pubs, clubs and food outlets.

The incidents are usually fights between groups of people in a public place and nearly three quarters involve alcohol. There is also frequently a rise in domestic offences, with families together for a longer, more concentrated time and alcohol consumption aggravating sometimes tense situations.

Most thefts occur in busy shopping areas during the day between 12 noon and 5pm or in nightclubs in the late evening between 11pm and 2am. The crimes are mainly pick pocket type offences and are at their peak in the week leading up to Christmas and then through to New Year when the January sales begin.

Supt Moon said: “Put simply this is the time to be sensible and to prepare before hitting the high street. Keep your phones, bank cards and cash close whilst out shopping and don’t get distracted. It’s all too easy to lose focus when choosing that special gift but remember a pick pocket is a skilled operator and will grab any opportunity to dip into your purse or wallet when you’re distracted.

“Be on your guard and follow some simple safety tips to make certain you’re not left empty handed when it’s time to exchange gifts and instead are left tied up making calls to cancel bank cards and reporting stolen goods.

“As the day draws on and you’re thinking of going out partying the wary reveller can help keep themselves safe by planning ahead where they are going, how they’re getting home, either by booking a taxi or nominating a designated driver in their group of friends and drinking responsibly.

“Our town centres are usually very safe places to visit and enjoy in the evenings, however it’s easy to go over the top with all the celebrations at this time of year but it’s not just a headache that can be a result of a heavy night’s drinking.

“People are putting themselves at risk by excess alcohol and the cost to the community of alcohol fuelled crime and disorder is staggering as Home Office figures demonstrate around £11 billion in alcohol-related crime in England and Wales each year.

“For those who don’t get the message, violence and disorder and alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour and theft will not be tolerated. There will be a large number of extra officers out patrolling the streets, targeting specific hot spots and providing a visible presence to discourage crime and reassure the local population.

“If you feel threatened or at risk over the Christmas period, whatever the time of day or wherever you are, please call Surrey Police and report your concerns.”

Surrey Police BadgeSurrey Police will be using a multitude of channels to ensure the maximum number of people share in the Operation Yuletide message to be wary, including billboards, radio advertising, washroom posters and through the use of Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag#WaryLittleXmas).

By taking a few simple steps you can significantly reduce your chance of becoming a victim of the crimes associated with this time of year:

When out shopping:

  • Keep bags and purses close by at all times.
  • Keep all clasps and zips closed with the clasp facing inwards.
  • Don’t keep wallets in a back pocket, keep them in an inside or front pocket.
  • If you have to keep your bag in a shopping trolley, take purses or wallets out.
  • Stay with your shopping trolley at all times. If you walk away, take handbags and purses with you.

When out in the evening:

  • Pre-book a taxi for the end of the night and avoid the queues and the weather! Alternatively find out the times of the last train or bus before you go out.
  • If you feel threatened in a situation, walk away and report it to security staff or the police.
  • Make sure you don’t leave your belongings unattended and only take out the essential items you’ll need to enjoy your evening.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash as this could make you a target for opportunistic thieves.

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