With Christmas only a short while away, Police Scotland are telling people around the country the necessary steps to keep themselves safe throughout the festive period, making sure criminals aren’t having a Merry Christmas at their expense.
The force launched its annual Festive Safety Campaign today (Wednesday, November 18) at Silverburn Shopping Centre in Glasgow, offering advice to shoppers on the four key areas to ensure people across Scotland have a happy and safe festive season, which are:
• Online Safety
• Shop Safety
• Party Safety
• Home Safety
The Festive Safety campaign’s key crime prevention tips include:
• Ensure your bag is closed and your purse or wallet is not easily accessible when you’re out shopping or partying.
• Don’t leave any purchases on display in your car and park your vehicle in a secure, well-lit area.
• Think before you post photos or check-ins on social media; you may be advertising your home as being empty.
• Only use trusted sites when shopping online - look for the ‘padlock’ in the address line before entering details.
• Plan your journey home from a Christmas night out, don’t leave drinks unattended, stay with your friends and look out for each other.
• Don’t use drugs or New Psychoactive Substances – why risk your life?
• Keep your home secure, lock all windows and doors, and switch on the alarm if you have one.
• Protect any gifts you’ve bought for your family and friends. Get them to register mobiles, tablets, laptops and cameras at www.immobilise.com. Don’t give them a good quality bike without giving them a good quality lock, you can register bikes at www.BikeRegister.com.
Superintendent Ross Aitken, Police Scotland Safer Communities, said:“Communities across Scotland become busier day and night over the festive period with shoppers and people out celebrating. Police Scotland wants to ensure people have a great time this Christmas by providing some basic prevention advice – whether shopping, socialising, within the home or online.
Trading Standards Scotland Chief Officer, Fiona Richardson, said: “Be careful when shopping online in the run up to Christmas. Take simple steps to protect yourself - only use secure sites and payment methods, look for physical contact details on the site so you know where to go if you do have an issue and be wary of buying designer goods from social media sites and online markets. Most importantly remember that if it looks too good to be true it probably is.”
Dr Richard Stevenson, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, said: “This is the time of year when many people are out in the city centre celebrating with family and friends.
“It should be a happy and enjoyable time but it can also be a time when you can put yourself at risk of serious harm by drinking too much and not paying attention to you and your friends’ safety.
“Alcohol and the cold are a dangerous combination, because contrary to popular belief going out into the fresh air does not sober you up. Neither does alcohol “heat you up”. When you drink alcohol your face may get flushed and your skin gets warm but your body is actually losing heat more quickly because the blood is rushing to the skin. The body’s normal protective response to cold is masked by the affect of alcohol, allowing your body temperature to decrease more quickly, bringing an increased danger of hypothermia. Your body temperature may decrease without you actually realising it.”
Deputy Director of the SBRC, Chief Inspector Ronnie Megaughin stated: “Christmas should be an enjoyable time for all and part of the tradition for many people is going out and buying presents. Busy City Centres and Retail Parks are often targeted by criminals seeking every opportunity. I would urge everyone who is out and about to safeguard their purse or wallet, ensure they are safe when withdrawing money and that they give careful consideration to where they park their car.”
Mark McGeever, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The festive season brings a significant increase in the number of house fires. Cooking and alcohol are a potentially lethal mix and unattended cookers, candles and overloaded sockets all pose a serious risk of fire.
“Simple precautions significantly reduce the chance of a fire starting. Working smoke alarms are absolutely crucial for every home and people should also consider having a heat alarm fitted in their kitchen.
“Anyone who thinks they, or someone they know, could use some help to stay safe should call us on 0800 0731 999, or text ‘FIRE’ to 80800, to arrange for a free home fire safety visit.”
Police Scotland’s Festive Safety Campaign runs from November 18 to December 25 2015.