How To Keep Safe This Christmas

Whilst most people are getting in the Christmas spirit, there are some who take this time of year as an opportunity to steal, con or worse.

Whilst it is important that everyone has a fabulous festive season, and lots of fun with family and friends, it is also important to be aware of the increased dangers around at this time of year, and to take precautions to protect you, your family and your valuables.

Here are some things to consider this festive season.

Your Home:

  • Leave some lights on if you are going out, or even better use electronic timers which will automatically switch on at certain times.
  • Ensure that all windows and doors are always locked.
  • Equip your house with security lights or cctv cameras- thieves usually like to work in the dark where they can stay hidden, so lights can deter criminals.
  • Do not leave presents under the tree and in full view to the outside world- this is an invitation for criminals to break in and see what you have.

Going Out Season:

  • Don’t accept drinks off strangers and never leave your drink unattended.
  • If you are going out with friends or family make sure you stick together, and avoid becoming isolated from the party.
  • Always have a plan for the end of your night – ensure that you have pre booked a taxi, and have cash put aside to get home.
  • Always book with a legitimate licensed car and company.
  • One drink can easily turn into many this time of year. Do not drink and drive- even if you have had just a couple of drinks or have had a meal so feel you are ok, it just isn’t worth the risk to yourself and others.
  • Be mindful when driving the morning after a heavy night out drinking. Often you may still be over the limit.

Your Car:

As the weather changes and the temperature drops the road conditions will become increasingly hazardous.

  • Make sure your tyres, brakes, mirrors, windscreen wipers and windows have no faults and are clean.
  • Keep items like antifreeze and an ice scraper in the car.
  • Assess the weather conditions before travelling in your car however small your journey is- if the road conditions become icy or the weather affects your sight do not risk it.

Social Media:

Think very carefully about what you share publicly.

  • If you are going away over Christmas try to keep it private- sharing the dates of when you leave and how long you are going for immediately makes your house a target for crime.
  • Avoid showing off your new presents on social media- is advertising your valuables and showing what’s available for thieves.
  • Always take into consideration what you are posting and think about what information it is giving away before sharing it.

Staying Safe Online:

During the festive season and New Year sales, millions of people will be ordering and buying gifts online, and it is important to make sure these deals are legitimate.

  • Avoid clicking on websites that aren’t secure and verified (look for the padlock in URL) as they may not be what they say they are or may contain viruses and scams.
  • If you are putting your personal details and bank details into websites make sure you are confident that it is completely genuine before going ahead.
  • Often if it is too good to be true, then it usually is.
  • Do your research and look for genuine reviews and recommendations.

Crowds:

It is particularly busy this time of year at markets, shops and festive events, and crowds are a great place for pickpockets.

  • Ensure that all your valuables are kept safe and securely away when out and about.
  • Avoid having phones, keys and wallets visible and lose in bags or in back pockets.
  • Try having secure bags with strong straps to hold your valuables in, this will make it hard for it being snatched off your shoulder and stolen.
  • Never leave shopping bags and gifts unattended or on show in the car or at home.

Pets:

It is as important to keep your furry friends safe as it is to keeping yourself safe.

  • During the festive season be aware that there may be lots of food and snacks left out or there may be food being dropped on the floor. Be mindful that most foods can be very toxic for your pets especially dogs so avoid them getting their paws on the leftovers.
  • At Christmas it is usual to have gatherings whether it is at your own home or you are visiting family and friends. This may become very overwhelming for your pets so ensure to provide a safe space or quiet room where your animal can retreat to if it gets too much.

Merry Christmas from everyone at ICM! Stay safe and have a fabulous festive season.

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