As we fly about town this November and December, most of us will be pre-occupied with the next item on the Christmas list, and whether Uncle Floyd will really like the book on The History of Wooden Bridge Building after all.
It's quite possible of course that he'll hate it, but at least we'd like the chance to give it to him in the first place. If the car gets broken into and all your presents-so-far lifted for example, Uncle Floyd may well not get anything at all.
Most thefts around town centres and car parks are opportunist and done very quickly - and the best method to tackle it is perhaps prevention rather than cure.
Here are some essential things - some more obvious than others - to help make a thief's 'job' harder - and our shopping experience in Richmond that much safer:
- 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.
The less attractive we are to a passing thief, the less likely we are to be a target.
Here at thebestof Richmond we always promote local spending and want to ensure shopping in Richmond stays an enjoyable experience.
Self-awareness and vigilance are the key here, hopefully removing any opportunity these opportunists thought they might have.
Silas Van Der Bas
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Silas Van Der Bas is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.