“With Christmas just around the corner, shops and retail outlets are getting busier, and so the opportunities for those to commit crime increase” explains Community Policing Sergeant Mike McCaughey at Dumfries. “Traditionally this time of year sees lots more people in our towns, shopping for Christmas, and so we will be out and about in force in order to deter and disrupt those who would seek to commit crimes such as thefts, frauds and shoplifting at this time of year. Police Scotland will be working closely with shopkeepers, community safety officers, retail security officers and shop staff in stores in our towns to ensure that we get the message out to thieves that their activities will not be tolerated.

“High visibility police patrols will be backed up with plain clothes patrols and will form the main part of the police response. The Radiolink system will be utilised fully to keep officers and shop staff fully informed in what is happening in Dumfries, and CCTV, both in the public spaces and shop premises will be closely monitored to capture any suspicious activity or actual crimes being committed.

“We all need to work together and stay alert” explains Sergeant McCaughey. “This year we have seen examples of what can only be described as some despicable thefts where vulnerable victims appear to have been targeted and purses or bags stolen. When we all work together, and that includes members of the public who might see some suspicious activity, then we have a good chance of keeping people and property safe at what should be an enjoyable time of year for everyone. Don’t make it easy for the thieves. By taking a few of the following simple precautions people can help keep themselves safe at this time of year.”

Use cash machines in well lit, non-secluded areas and stay alert as to who may be nearby. Does anyone appear to be watching you at the machine?

Before using cash machines, have a look at them and do not use it if anything looks suspicious – Report it to the bank or business it is attached to or call police on 101.

When entering your pin number, cover your hand/keypad to ensure no-one can see it.

Put your money away as securely as you can, as soon as you can after taking it from the machine. Never count it as you’re walking away.

Don’t leave shopping bags unattended at any time.

Park your car in a busy, well-lit area. Don’t leave valuables in your car but if you do ensure they are kept out of view.

Ensure your bag, purse or wallet is secure and not easily accessible.

Bargains are not always what they seem – be aware of counterfeit / fake products being sold

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