Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Creating safer, stronger and active communities

Christmas Shopping Tips





Christmas is a time for giving but it 

can also a time for taking!




Here are some tips for keeping safer when you are out doing the big Chrstmas shopping expedition.

snowflake Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you, especially in busy shops and crowded streets where thieves and pickpockets may well be operating.
snowflake Keep valuables in the inside pockets of clothing or bags.
snowflake Only carry the cash and cards that you need. Always shield the PIN pad when entering your PIN.
snowflake Park in an open, well-lit area. Visit www.parkmark.co.uk to find accredited car parks.
snowflake Avoid going back to your car to leave your shopping part-way through your trip. If you have to keep presents in the car, make sure they are out of view in the boot, the car is locked, and keep the receipts with you.
snowflake Never leave your bag unattended on your trolley whilst shopping and don’t leave it in your vehicle when returning your trolley.
snowflake Deter pickpockets and muggers. Don't overburden yourself with bags/packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Always carry a purse close to your body and not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front trouser pocket, likewise with your phone and keys.
snowflake Try and avoid taking young children into busy shopping areas. If it is unavoidable make sure they know what to do if they lose you e.g. tell the nearest counter assistant that they are lost and never leave a shop without you. Agree a meeting point with older children, in case you get separated.
snowflake Keep car doors locked whilst driving in built-up areas, especially if you've got bags or presents in the car.



How to prevent theft

It’s never nice to feel vulnerable, and theft is a crime that sadly occurs all too often. Sometimes referred to as ‘Theft from the person,’ this article looks at ways to keep you safe from theft and attempted theft.

Usually involving no physical violence, there are two types of theft most commonly associated with targeting an individual:

  • Snatch theft - Taking a bag cleanly from a shoulder is an example of this. Force may be used, but not against a person.
  • Stealth theft (e.g. pickpocketing) - Where no force is used and the victim is unaware of the incident.

Stealth theft makes up around 70-80% of theft incidents.

Tips to reduce the risk of theft

There are steps you can take to help prevent theft from happening and to help you recover your stolen items.

Here are a few that could be helpful:

Be aware

  • Keep bags fastened and out of view.
  • Only take out what is necessary when going out at night.
  • Avoid listening to music on headphones whilst walking home at night alone. Keep to well-lit, busy areas.
  • Make sure no one is loitering too close when using a cash machine.
  • Avoid distractions when removing your card and cash from the machine.
  • After withdrawing cash, walk away and don’t count your money until it’s safe to do so.

Look after your belongings

  • Mark belongings using a UV pen or other marking system.
  • Never leave your bag, mobile, tablet or laptop unattended in public view, even if you are going to the toilet.
  • Do not keep all your valuables in one place. Instead place items such as wallets and mobile phones in inside pockets.

Protect your mobile

  • Avoid talking on your mobile whilst walking home at night alone and keep to well-lit, busy areas.
  • Be careful when using it outside train and bus stations which are popular venues for theft, often by motorcycle or moped.
  • Keep it hidden from view, not in your back pocket.
  • Make a note of your personal IMEI number (type *#06# on your phone's keypad to get it). If you have the IMEI number you can block your phone being used if it is stolen.
  • Download a phone tracking application.


Content source: Theft - Information pack for partners (July 2013), published by the Home Office.

Crime prevention tips for students

It might surprise you to learn that according to the National Union of Students as many as one in five students fall victim to property crime whilst at college or university.

Thieves know that student residences are full of expensive laptops, mobiles, iPads and bicycles, which all-to-often prove to be rich pickings! In fact, the average break-in costs £900 to repair the damage and replace belongings.  

The majority of burglaries are opportunist – a few simple steps can be enough to make thieves think twice and move on!

  1. When you go out make sure all windows and doors are locked. It might seem obvious but double check!
  2. Check windows for vulnerabilities, make sure they're strong, secure and fitted with locks. If they're not you should speak to the landlord or letting agent. 
  3. Don't advertise your valuables to thieves. Ensure that your laptop, jewellery, cameras, bicycles, and any other expensive items can not be seen from windows.
  4. Register possessions on Immobilise. Having a record of the make, model and serial numbers will help the police identify and return items if stolen, and can make insurance claims much simpler.
  5. Keep your gate shut and bolted at all times. Make sure bins don't make it easy for burglars to climb over walls or fences.
  6. Simulate occupancy with light timers or products like a FakeTV (see offer below). 
  7. Get Insurance. It is tempting to save money but make sure you have insurance and it covers all your kit.
  8. Secure bikes.If you own a bike make sure its locked to an immovable object with a decent lock, preferably out of sight, inside your house! Consider enhancing its Immobilise registration with an ImmobiTag RFID device (learn more).