A local Home Watch Coordinator has reported that one of her elderly neighbours had her purse stolen in Nantwich town centre last Friday by a man who offered to assist her when she was struggling with her bag and walking stick. Unfortunately, she did not report the incident at the time but has since made us aware that this occurred.
Due to the busy nature of town centres they can be targeted by purse dippers and pick pockets. Whilst people are shopping as they are often busy, more stressed and flustered they can often forget to put their purse away properly or leave their wallet in their rear pocket or may just be more distracted in general. Due to the busy nature of town centres it is easy to get nudged or jostled at times and people often won't realise their purse or wallet has gone until they come to use it again. It is important to be aware of this in the run up to Christmas as town centres become busier still and people are often more stressed rushing around to buy presents and complete tasks for Christmas. Please be mindful whilst out and about and take care with your purse and wallet.
Please find below some advice from the local Crime Reduction Advisor about how to minimise the chances of becoming a victim of this type of crime:
Purse Dipping / Pick Pocketing Prevention
• Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid looking lost, confused or distracted. Individuals who
seem sure of themselves and aware of their surroundings make less attractive targets.
• Consider carrying a“dummy”wallet in your purse or pocket, to confuse the pickpocket and
make him or her believe this is your real wallet.
• Be careful in crowded areas, pickpockets have been known to deliberately bump or jostle
an unsuspecting victim in a crowd. This may be a distraction technique.
• Don’t flash your money, pickpockets observe potential victims when shopping and then
later know exactly where to lift your wallet.
• Remove unnecessary credit cards from your purse or wallet prior to leaving for your
• Be careful at banks and automated teller machines, pickpockets have been known to hang
around banks and cash points at airports and shopping areas. After victims make cash
withdrawals, the criminals can see exactly where your wallets or purses are stored and steal
•Walk with confidence and make eye contact to discourage pickpockets.
• Avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket if possible. Front pockets are safer.
• Place your wallet in your pocket sideways or place a rubber band around it. This makes it
more difficult to get the wallet out of your pocket.
• Don’t “pat”your pocket to see if your wallet is still there. This alerts the pickpocket of the
location of your wallet.
• Divide your cash up and place it in various locations such as socks or other pockets so if
your wallet is stolen, you still have some money.
• Consider carrying your valuables in a money belt under your clothing.
• Avoid drawstring purses.A purse with a zippered compartment works best.
• Carry your purse in front of you.
• If your purse has a flap,wear the flap against your body.
• Avoid hanging your purse on the back of a chair in a public place. Place it in your lap.
• Never leave your purse unattended.
Autumn Crime Prevention Advice
Homes and property can become more vulnerable as the evenings get darker throughout the autumn and winter period. Now is the time to remind scheme members of some of the steps that they can take to protect themselves during these months.
Ten Autumn Crime Prevention Tips
1. Invest in some timer switches which you can set up to allow lights to come on in your property whilst no one is home. If you are habitually out at certain times consider changing the times that the lights come on and off every so often so there isn’t an obvious pattern.
2. Ensure that boundaries around your property remain in good repair this includes fences, hedges and any other vegetation. As trees, plants and hedges lose their foliage take time to check your property for any thin or weak spots that could offer easy access to your garden and take steps to rectify these immediately.
3. After getting your garden ready for the autumn/winter months securely lock away all your tools. Tools that are left lying around can be used to assist in committing a crime on your property or a neighbour’s property.
4. Take a look around your property and identify any areas where you could improve your security - aim to tackle these issues sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, most people only seriously consider their security after they have become a victim of crime.
5. Close your curtains when it is dark. Brightly lit rooms draw the eye of passers by offering an ideal opportunity for people to see what you have inside your home at a glance.
6. As town centre’s start to get busier in the months running up to Christmas they can be targeted by pickpockets. Be mindful where you keep your purse and wallet. Purses should be secured in your handbag; handbags should always be fully shut and worn to your front. Wallets should never be kept in back pockets. Bear this advice in mind when attending other busy upcoming events such as a local bonfire/fireworks display.
7. In the run up to bonfire night encourage neighbour’s to report any unofficial bonfires that appear to be sprouting up so that they can be removed by the authorities.
8. Good lighting is a beneficial investment as burglars hate it as they want to operate unseen. Motion sensor lights are a good option as they come on when they detect movement and can be positioned to cover vulnerable areas. It is also possible to purchase dusk till dawn lights which come on when it goes dark and turn themselves off in the morning so can be used to light specific points on a permanent basis
9. As the weather becomes colder and more frosty don’t be tempted to leave your vehicle unattended whilst defrosting your vehicle. Many motorists will either leave their vehicle insecure or will lock the doors with a spare key whilst they go inside. Remember it only takes a matter of seconds for a thief to drive away with your car. If you are unable to place your car in a garage or a car port ensure that you stay with the car while it defrosts or invest in a protective sheet so the windscreen does no get frosted up.
10. Darker nights afford criminals the opportunity to be less visible whilst they engage in crime. Ask all members to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior directly to the police.