Will a stranger get their hands on your Christmas shopping?
15th December 2009
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When you're out shopping for festive bits and pieces this December, spare a thought for an impoverished minority in your area.

Tunbridge Wells is a reasonably prosperous borough, but there's a scattered group of individuals who deserve our attention this Christmas, and are looking for our help.

They wander, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs, through car parks and back streets, on the edge of our existence, hoping against hope for a helping hand.

Meet the opportunist thief.

He - or she - is looking for valuables left in your car, works quickly and is gone from your life as swiftly as your possessions are.

Don't make it easy for them.

There are lots of things you can do to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of car crime and theft, some common sense, some you may not have thought of before.

Obvious mistakes are leaving handbags or computer cases on show, but you should also think about carrier bags. At this time of year especially, shopping bags mean Christmas shopping (clearly). And shopping means presents. Which could soon be given to someone other than who you intended it for.

Did you realise that rolls of wrapping paper might be a clue to a would-be thief that there are expensive gifts squirreled away in the boot?

Hide it hide it hide - or better still take it with you.

Non-seasonal things to be aware of all year round include not leaving suction-marks on the windscreen from your sat-nav or mobile phone cradle - it may make a criminal think you've hidden it in your glove box.

Never leave anything valuable in your car, or signs that there ever was anything valuable there in the first place.

I always try to park in well-lit, public areas of car parks, perhaps near the entrance where there's increased car and pedestrian traffic. Also, you could be aware of which areas of the car park or street are covered by CCTV cameras - you can bet your dollar bottom Joe Sneaky will.

Kent Police have plenty more advice available on their website.


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Natelie Fitzroy is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.

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