Suffolk Constabulary to deliver 12 Days of Christmas Safety advice
Suffolk Constabulary has designed Christmas baubles to remind people to keep safe and within the law as the festive campaign is launched.
#12DaysofChristmasSafety will run from today, Wednesday 12 December through until Christmas Eve with police delivering a series of crime prevention messages and guidance on a collection of baubles via the force’s social media accounts.
Suffolk’s County Policing Commander, Chief Superintendent Tonya Antonis said: The aim of our campaign is to encourage the public to be more aware of crime prevention while they’re out enjoying the festivities this month.
“We know that at Christmas we generally enjoy spending time with our friends and families, but too much alcohol can cause problems in lots of different ways. Unfortunately, for some, it can fuel emotions and lead to arguments. It can also mean some people lose their inhibitions and take more risks leaving themselves vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime, including violence or sexual offences. So we are urging everyone to drink responsibly and to know their limits.
“Suffolk Constabulary launched a month-long campaign against driving under the influence at the start of this month to remind motorists that deciding to drink or take drugs before getting behind the wheel could cost them dearly. Be sure to arrange an alternative method of getting home after a party as anyone caught faces a minimum 12-18 month ban, however, drink or drug driving could cost you a lot more than your licence.
“Sadly, Christmas isn’t always happy time for all as we often see a spike in opportunist crime such as burglary and theft. However, these types of crimes can be prevented by taking extra care when you are out shopping. There are also various simple safety precautions residents can do at home too.
Throughout our campaign, we will address these to ensure everyone has a safe Christmas.
“This year we have designed 12 baubles with various safety messages attributed to them. Residents, if they wish, can download and print the bauble images (download link - top right) and then hang them from their trees so that the messages will be there as a reminder throughout the festive season.”
Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "December is a busy time and we may be in and out of the home more regularly while we’re busy shopping for presents and seeing loved ones. Sadly, it’s also a time for opportunist thieves. So whether you’re popping into town or visiting friends, make sure to follow a few safety precautions in order to try and beat the burglar.”
Suffolk Constabulary will be offering the safety advice below over the next 12 days:
Online device safety
• If you’re buying your child any kind of computer, games console or mobile device, prepare the device before the child has it so that you know passcodes, what apps are downloaded and where to find the history of use
• Set ground rules around use of devices- these should include time limits, location of the device at night and parent/carer examination of usage
• For help on safety and privacy settings for social media, there are simple step-by-step parent guides available at parentzone.org.uk
• Ensure you have strong, secure doors and windows, which can be locked; avoid openly displaying Christmas gifts.
• Keep a light or radio on to make it look like someone’s home.
• Also look after your neighbourhood and remain vigilant to any suspicious activity and report anything that seems out of place.
• Make sure your Christmas gifts are property marked. Take photographs and keep a note of any serial numbers.
Cold weather safety
• Clear your windscreen of any condensation or ice before setting off on your journey
• Allow extra time for your journey and drive to the road conditions
• Increase your distance behind other vehicles to allow you to stop suddenly if you need to
• Make sure all your car lights are working and your tyres meet the ‘20p test’.
Looking out for each other
• During the festive season, check on elderly residents who may need extra help
• If you’re celebrating on a night out - stay with friends, look out for one another and make sure you all get home safely
• If you want to speak to someone, or have concerns that someone you know may be affected by domestic abuse, please call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency
• A locked padlock or unbroken key symbol should always appear in your browser window when banking online.
• Do not open links to online banking from emails and or text messages. Always go direct to the banking website or app.
• Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.
• Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.
• If you’re a victim of fraud or would like more advice, please contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Night-time personal safety
• Christmas party season is in full swing - know your limits and look out for your friends and colleagues
• Pre-book safe transport home – save the number of a licensed taxi firm in your phone
• Keep an eye on your drinks and never leave them unattended. Even soft drinks could get spiked.
• Make sure you have something to eat before a night out and drink water regularly.
• Opportunistic thieves will be looking out for cars filled with gifts – make sure you lock your car at all times and don’t leave valuables on display
• Remove any portable Sat Navs and holders from the windscreen and wipe the residue circle from the screen – this could indicate you have hidden the unit in the car
• Keep your keys safe with you at all times – make sure keyless entry keys are away from doors and windows. Criminals can easily clone your key to steal your car if located within close range.
• If you do not have a garage, try to park in a well-lit place or where it’s in good view of passers-by.
• Drink and/or drug driving puts lives at risk and has serious consequences – any driver who is stopped due to concerns over the manner of driving, a vehicle defect or is involved in a collision will be breathalysed by officers
• Don’t forget alcohol can still be in your system the morning after the night before so know your limits
• If you’re going out, make sure you either book a taxi home or have a designated driver for the night
• Protecting your business from crime, particularly at Christmas, is extremely important – make sure buildings, property and vehicles are secure
• Install CCTV in premises and car parks to deter thieves
• Be wary of thieves working in groups who could distract shop floor staff
• Train employees on what to look for and how to respond to a shoplifting situation
Where victims can get help
• Christmas can be an overwhelming time when the pressures of family and money can be an added strain - there are lots of organisations that can help and support you
• Victim support is an independent charity offering help for people affected by crime or traumatic events – you can call them on 0808 168 9111
• The Samaritans provide 24/7 confidential support to anyone in distress or are struggling to cope – contact them on 116 123
• Citizens Advice offer free advice to assist people with money, legal, consumer and other issues – there’s more at: citizensadvice.org.uk
• Be careful when looking for online bargains in the run up to Christmas – if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
• Make sure the website is secure – there should always been a locked padlock in your browser window
• Know your rights and the company’s returns policy
• Keep your computer/device software and virus protection up-to-date and use strong passwords for online accounts
• If you’re visiting a Christmas market or going to busy shopping centres over the festive period, it’s important to remember the ‘run, hide and tell guidance in case of a terrorist incident.
• Run to a place of safety. If there’s nowhere to go, then…
• Hide. It’s better to hide than confront. Remember to turn your phone to silent and turn off vibrate. Barricade yourself in if you can. Then finally and only when it is safe to do so…
• Tell. Call the police on 999.
• Please remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency, 999.