Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Creating safer, stronger and active communities

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.