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Police issue Christmas crime prevention advice


Thousands of people visit Haringey every day - with many more attracted to the area's vibrant shopping and night-life over the Christmas and New Year period. This year police are distributing a 'festive crime menu' and encouraging people to take some of the simple steps in it to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of opportunist criminals.

Traditionally, there is a rise in pick-pocketing and distraction thefts during the winter months as thieves target busy, crowded areas at a time when it becomes darker earlier and people may not always be fully aware of what is going on around them. 

To deter criminals, patrols have been stepped up, while officers are also out-and-about advising the public to stay vigilant and keep their valuables - particularly expensive smart phones - zipped up, safe and out of sight. 

Haringey Borough Commander Sandra Looby said: "We have increased the numbers of patrolling officers at key times and locations over the festive period, as well as providing people with crime prevention advice, to ensure that thieves don't have the opportunity to ruin the experience for those out enjoying Haringey's shops and night-life this season.

"Please do what you can to keep safe by being aware of your surroundings and belongings at all times and guarding against thieves by keeping your valuables close to you, in a zipped up pocket. When you're in a café, bar or restaurant don't leave your phone on the table where it can be seen and taken while you are distracted by conversation.

"We take all crime seriously and have been working to reduce the number of robberies, burglaries and other thefts in Haringey. *Since April this year crime is down with 270 fewer victims of robbery and 453 fewer victims of thefts of or from cars and 15 fewer victims of burglary.

"We continue to do more work in respect of burglary, with our local policing teams identifying those committing such offences and advising residents how to enhance their home security. In the past month we have arrested and charged more than 20 people in relation to burglary and more than 30 in relation to other theft offences, including robbery, pick-pocketing and handling stolen goods. My officers have made and continue to make further arrests, with enquiries ongoing into the cases.

"Unfortunately, we have discovered that a small number of people make false claims of theft, usually in an effort to upgrade or replace their mobile phones. Reporting lost property as stolen is a serious offence and also has a real impact on the community, by wasting a considerable amount of police time and resources that could be better spent catching real criminals and helping those that are genuine victims of crime. 

"My officers and staff are dedicated to catching criminals and providing the best possible service to victims of crime, please do what you can to help by being vigilant, looking out for your neighbours, calling police if you see anything suspicious and taking some simple preventative steps."

Top tips to avoid becoming a victim of crime are: 

1. Place valuables in a bag or front pocket that you can secure, rather than leaving phones or wallets in your back pocket.

2. Keep bags, coats and other personal belongings with you in cafes, bars and restaurants. Do not leave them unattended.

3. Do not leave drinks unattended in clubs and bars. 

4. Cover your PIN number when using ATMs or paying in bars and clubs. 

5. Watch out for people trying to distract you if you are using an ATM 

6. Stay aware of your surroundings and being approached by anyone you do not know. Pickpockets operate in central London.

Heading home.... 

1. Think ahead and plan your journey, avoiding deserted areas. 

2. Don't drink and drive - Be warned that alcohol can remain in your bloodstream into the morning after the night before.

3. Never approach a minicab on the street or accept a fare - they are acting illegally, even if they are licensed by TfL. Only black cabs can pick passengers up on the street without a booking. When travelling by minicab always book it with a licensed operator. 

4. Try to avoid walking alone at night and keep to well-lit main roads where possible. Try to avoid short cuts like alleyways, waste ground and wooded, bushy areas.

5. Stay Alert: be aware of what's going on around you. It is always worth letting someone know where you are going, the route you intend to take and when you expect to return.

6. Try to avoid wearing headphones - your ability to hear traffic, strangers or potential trouble is severely restricted.

7. When travelling by bus or train try to avoid using stations in isolated places. When possible sit near the driver on buses, and on trains make sure you sit in a compartment where there are other people.

Crime prevention advice regarding keeping your mobile phone safe: 

1. Ensure you keep a record of your IMEI - you will need this if your phone is lost or stolen. 

2. Register your phone for free on the website. This helps police to identify you as the owner and return your handset if subsequently lost or stolen. 

3. Don't keep personal information such as bank details and home address on your phone that be used by criminals to commit identity fraud. 

4. Use security or PIN locks to protect your data and prevent the phone being used if stolen. Try to ensure these are not easily guessed, such as 1234, or your birthday. 

5. Even if it is out of sight, never leave your phone unattended in a public place or vehicle. 

6. Take particular care of your phone at bars, cafes, coffee-shops, restaurants and music venues - thieves have targeted these venues. 

7. Install and activate a location finding App on your phone - such as 'Find my Iphone' or similar. 

If using your phone in public, stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.. 

1. Don't connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, for example in a coffee shop or train station, unless you really have to look something up that doesn't require you to enter personal details or passwords. 

2. Never reply to spam messages you may receive over SMS or Bluetooth, even to text 'STOP'. 

3. If your phone is stolen, report it to police and your network. Ensure you have the IMEI number available for the police. Your network will provide this free of charge.


*Figures for 01/04/2012 to 05/12/2012 compared to the same period in 2011 show: 

Robbery is down 26.9% 

Thefts from cars is down 7.7% 

Thefts of cars is down 39.4% 

Residential burglary is down 0.9% 


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