Beat the Purse Dipper
Last minute shoppers in Crewe and Nantwich are being urged “Don’t fall victim to a Christmas purse-dipper!”
Specialists will give crime prevention advice in the town centres, and hand out free bag alarms and purse bells.
Crime Reduction Adviser Mark Cotton said, “Pickpockets and bag snatchers see the Christmas shopping period, and especially the last few days of it, as a boost to their own particular trade.
“They can work among big crowds of people, and they know many of the shoppers will have their minds on other things. They can take full advantage of a lapse of concentration and a bit of carelessness.
“Police Officers and partners are putting a lot of effort into tackling town centre crime. Some officers are out and about in uniform as a deterrent. Others, in plain clothes, are identifying and arresting shoplifters and purse dippers. But shoppers themselves can beat these thieves. It just means taking a few simple precautions.
Those precautions will be highlighted by Mark and the Watch Co-ordinator, Hayley Goodwin, who are setting up advice stalls in both town centres.
Mark said, “We will also hand out some bag alarms and bells. These will be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis and we will limit them to one per person. They are a useful crime prevention device. Anything which can raise an alarm if a thief tries to take a purse or bag, is a useful last line of defence.
“Keeping an eye on your cash and cards and making sure they are somewhere which is difficult for a thief to reach, is something we should all do at all times.
“Other criminals are busy at Christmas time, too. We are warning people who are out buying presents not to leave them on view in their cars. We have distributed postcards to shops which have a cartoon picture of a thief eyeing up cars loaded with presents, and carrying the slogan, ‘Display and You’ll Pay’.
“Having property stolen at Christmas time is particularly distressing. Having your bag, purse or wallet taken can also cause you a lot of inconvenience when you have to cancel your cards and set up new ones. At this time of year it can put a damper on what should be a really enjoyable occasion.”
Times/ dates of The Purse Dipping Campaign stalls are as follows:
Crewe: Tue Dec 22nd in The Market Centre 11am until 2pm
Nantwich: Wed Dec 23rd in Town Square 11am until 2pm
Advice to beat the Purse Dipper
v Walk with confidence. Avoid looking distracted or confused. Thieves target people who appear vulnerable. Be aware of what is going on around you.
v Be careful in crowded areas. Thieves often bump and jostle people as a distraction technique.
v Avoid carrying your wallet in a back pocket.
v Carry your bag and purse in front of you where you can see it. If the bag has a zip or flap, keep it closed.
v Never leave a purse or bag unattended on a supermarket trolley or shop counter.
v Be careful at cash machines. Pickpockets watch people collecting money to line up potential targets.
“Lock Up to Keep Christmas Merry”
Police Officers are warning people across East Cheshire, “Make sure your Christmas presents are not a twelve-day wonder”.
They say many recent burglaries have been linked to a lack of basic home security and people need to be more careful.
Detective Inspector Nigel Groom, in charge of Cheshire Police Eastern Area Pro-Active CID said, “The New Year period and January traditionally bring an increase in the number of burglaries.
Ask yourself how you will feel if the gifts which bring so much pleasure to you on Christmas morning are soon in the hands of a stranger who will probably turn them into cash to buy drugs?
“That new Wii console or laptop, or that glamorous jewellery the wife had for Christmas are all attractive to a criminal. So are some of the electronic games and other toys you bought for your children.
“At this time of year burglars have long hours of darkness to help them in their work. We are also finding increasingly that people are failing to take the most elementary precautions against burglary, such as locking doors.
“One in three of the area’s burglaries at the moment is a sneak-in. The criminal simply walks through an unlocked door or climbs through an open ground-floor window. Some of these burglaries are in the daytime when the family are in the next room. Others are at night when the family are asleep. Some people go to bed without locking up!
“In the past few weeks we have arrested some of the most prolific burglars but everyone has a duty to take reasonable steps to protect their home and their property.
“The basics are very simple. Firstly, make sure you keep outside doors locked whether you are in or out of the building and always check the locks before you go to bed. If you have a security alarm, make sure you it is set at night and whenever you go out.
“Bear in mind that a house that might be occupied is generally less attractive to a burglar. Leave a radio on when you are out and put a light on if it’s dark. Invest in a couple of timer switches to operate the lights if you are out for a long time.
“Keep an eye open for unexpected activity in your neighbourhood. Burglars will usually spend some time looking around to identify the most vulnerable property. If you see anything suspicious call the Cheshire Police Information Line 0845 458 0000.
“In some cases your Christmas present may not have been for the home. If you received a sat nav or another car-based device, like a CD player, leaving them in the vehicle when you park is another way to hand them to a criminal.
“If you want to keep them, take them out of the car when you park, and make sure you don’t leave behind the sat nav cradle or other signs that a sat nav was fitted. A thief can do a lot of damage breaking into your vehicle if he believes that a sat nav may be inside.
“If possible park in well-lit areas which are covered by CCTV and be aware of what is going on around you. Make sure you are not being watched.
“These precautions are all very basic and only take a few minutes of your time. If you don’t take reasonable measures to safeguard your property you will find your insurance company will refuse to pay up. Make a New Year resolution to make security a habit and start it now. It will mean you can enjoy the presents you received at Christmas 2009 throughout 2010.”