There will be more people hitting the high streets at this time of year, on the run-up to Christmas, as presents are hunted down and purchased, food is ordered, and all the trappings and organisation of the festive season gets under way.
I usually like to remind people about now to Shop Safely - and be more conscious than ever about the risks of petty theft in town centres and retail zones.
I'm not trying to scare-monger, don't get me wrong, but having had my car broken into twice over the years, and had a cousin lose all her Christmas presents from hers from outside her house, I know how unpleasant and inconvenient it is.
Many thefts in of this sort are opportunist - so let's not give them the opportunity.
Here are some simple things to remember:
- Keep all bags - including shopping bags, handbags, laptop bags and parcels - out of sight in your car.
- Don't leave newly-bought wrapping paper on display. It could be a clue you might have other things of interest in there.
- Remember to not only remove mobile phones and sat navs, but put the cradles and holders out of sight as well. Even the tell-tale mark of a sucker on your windscreen could be enough to attract a would-be thief.
- If possible park in open obvious places - hard I know in busy town centre car parks, but I usually try to park close to payment machines for example, as there will be a lot of foot-traffic nearby - not very private for a thief.
- Remember to keep handbags done up properly, purses, phones and keys buried deep at the bottom not resting on top, and try to keep your bag tucked safely to the front of you or under your arm - it doesn't take a second to cut a shoulder strap and snatch a bag from round by your back.
- Make sure you keep your wits about you when taking cash out of machines, covering your hand as you enter your pin number, and stashing the readies safely and discretely before turning away from the machine.
Here at thebestof Bromley we always promote local spending and want to ensure shopping in Bromley stays an enjoyable experience.
It's amazing how just being a bit more vigilant and aware of your surroundings can increase your safety make you far less attractive to thieves... and if none of us are attractive, they won't have much of a 'clientele' in Bromley will they?
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Kim Frances is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.