Tips for staying safe this Christmas

About

The West End is one of the best places to be at Christmas and it attracts many more people than usual.

People are out enjoying festive food and drinks and, because it's Christmas, many of us are likely to overindulge.

When you've had a fair bit to drink you are more vulnerable. which makes it easier for people looking to make some quick cash to steal your wallet or your phone - often without you even noticing.

It also means you're less aware of your surroundings and sometimes disorientated.

If you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings unsure of which way to go to get home, you are more likely to become a victim of crime or get caught up in a potentially risky situation.

Have a great night out but stay safe by planning your journey home and following our safety trips.

Plan your journey home before a night out

1. Use the Get Home Safe journey planner to plan your journey home and set up a text reminder of your route so you never miss the last bus home.

2. If you’re using public transport make a note of the ‎last tube / night tubes or train. If you’re getting the bus, think about where you might be and where the nearest bus stop is located.

3. Top up your Oyster card before your night out.

4. Try to keep your wallet and credit/debit cards separate. This means that if you lose your wallet you’ll still be able to access cash.

5. Getting a cab? Download the Kabbee app to book your nearest minicab or black cab. Never get into an unlicensed minicab.

6. Keep your phone close to you and don’t leave it lying around. Christmas is a busy time of year and there are always pickpockets around.

Keep your valuables safe

1. Be alert and aware of what's around you, especially when you're in new locations or situations.

2. Keep your possessions hidden. Be discreet with your belongings; displaying expensive jewellery or electronic devices, like mobile phones and cameras, could attract unwanted attention.

3. It’s a busy time for thieves. If you make a call, look around you and keep your mobile safe.

4. Don’t lose that photo you take tonight. Look out for your phone in crowded pubs and clubs

5. Spread your valuables about. If you keep your keys, wallets and ID in the same bag or pocket it will increase the risk of your identity being stolen, or home being burgled

6. Never leave your bags or other valuables unattended in public places.

7. If someone does try to take your belongings or money, let them go. Do not fight as this increases your chances of being hurt. Call 999 and ask for the police.

8. If you discover that your things have been stolen after the fact, do not all 999 as it's not an emergency in progress. Call the police on 101.

9. If you have any information on any crime, or have been a victim of crime but do not want to talk to the police, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Remember, thieves frequently operate:

• In overcrowded area
• At tubes and train stations
• At cash machines
• Getting on and off buses.

Avoid scams

1. Be wary of overly friendly strangers that approach you when out and about. 'Hugger muggers' are known to hug people while picking their pockets.

2. Watch out for anyone putting anything on your table in pubs and cafes - such as a newspaper or map - as they may be removing your valuables from underneath.