IT MAY be the season of good will to all men but criminals do not see it that way, with residents laden with Christmas gifts they are on the lookout even more to snatch bags and pick pockets.
Crime figures for theft traditionally rise through the winter months, peaking in December. Police are warning residents to be on their guard so the thieves do not ruin their Christmas.
There were 900 thefts from people last year, 835 the year before and 780 the year before that.
In 2007 the crime rose to 87 in December, compared to 45 in September, when the nights began to draw in. During the same period there was a rise from 56 to 84 in 2008. But despite the increase in total thefts year on year, there is some good news illustrated by 2009's figures.
The crime actually went down from September to December, from 84 to 61. The police say this was thanks to the snow keeping the criminals away from the streets. So as much as we are cursing the bad weather at the moment, in some ways it might be doing us a favour.
Borough Commander Andy Rowell, said: “There will be extra police patrols and initiatives in the run up to Christmas. By taking some very basic measures it is possible to stop yourself becoming a victim of crime. Don’t let criminals ruin your day.”
Andy Rowell's top tips:
Always keep valuables with you and in sight.
Don't turn your back on an unattended bag, phone or laptop.
Beware of people behind you in crowds and at bus stops and keep bags in front where you can see them.
Do not keep bags on top of prams or shopping trolleys.
Never put mobile phones out on tables unattended, they can be taken in seconds.
Always wear your handbag diagonally across your body with the bag on the front and make sure it is securely closed.
Always report suspicious activity to a member of staff, security or a police officer.