Greenwich

Don't be a victim of seasonal crime spike

Published Friday, 08 December 2017

Be extra vigilant whilst out and about enjoying festive celebrations or shopping.

Reports of theft rise for the festive season and are likely to increase in the weeks closer to Christmas as shops and venues get busier providing more and more opportunities for criminals.

People are also urged to think twice if they find a branded item for sale at a hugely reduced price as it is likely to be counterfeit and could be a safety hazard. The Royal Borough Trading Standards officers are highlighting that they recently seized a number of counterfeit Beats by Dr Dre Pill speakers which were potentially dangerous if used.

With the huge growth in the amount of shopping for food and presents carried out via the internet people are also being warned to make sure they do not get stung by online fraudsters. Internet shoppers are urged to be on their guard especially when looking at 'great bargains' to make sure they don't get conned out of Christmas.

Simple precautions to follow

The Safer Greenwich Partnership is highlighting that people can take some simple precautions to protect themselves from being the victims of the seasonal rise in crime, as follows:

  • If doing lots of Christmas shopping and returning gifts or produce to a car remember to keep them hidden from view in a locked boot to avoid attracting thieves
  • Keep an eye on possessions particularly when in crowded pubs, cafés or restaurants. For example don't leave bags on the back of chairs with valuables such as mobile, wallets or purses
  • Keep bags including handbags zipped up and avoid leaving them on the back of a shopping trolley or pushchair
  • Be generally aware of the surroundings when walking around especially in busy areas and take precautions such as holding bags tight, not leaving wallets in back pockets and avoiding being distracted by talking on mobile phones
  • Always make sure that any purchases you make are genuine and safe. Electrical items and toys should have the CE safety mark as well as the manufacturer's identity mark. More complex items should have warnings and instructions for use supplied with them
  • Be extra cautious when grabbing deals online - if the deal seems too good to be true it probably is
  • Double check to make sure the website and product is legitimate before making a payment and look at any customer's reviews.

'Be extra cautious when shopping online'

Councillor Jackie Smith, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment, said: "Sadly not everyone is in the festive spirit and as we move closer to Christmas with shops and venues getting busier and busier opportunities for thieves increase. We want everyone to have a good time and so we are urging people to take a few simple precautions to keep themselves and their property safe.

"We are also warning people to be on their guard against buying counterfeit goods as they will generally not meet required safety standards which could put them or their families at significant risk.

"With more and more people going on the internet to search out that special gift or do the big food shop online fraudsters will also upping their activities. We are urging people to be extra cautious when looking at 'great bargains' online to make sure they don't get conned by criminals."

Contact Trading Standards

For more safety information on making purchases online, please contact Trading Standards at tradingstandards@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.