Barrie Hudson column: Be kind and trick a thief
A PRE-CHRISTMAS crackdown on crime and antisocial behaviour in the town centre has been launched.
The aim is to protect shops and shoppers with increased police patrols and extra vigilance by staff, which can only be a good thing.
For a truly happy Christmas shopping experience, though, there are some precautions we shoppers ourselves can take.
One is being extra careful if we’ve just bought some designer item or garment. We shouldn’t let it out of our sight and make sure we keep our eyes peeled for any dodgy characters who might be eyeing us up as a potential mark.
This is especially true if the designer item we’ve just bought is really, really exclusive, because if we’ve done that the chances are we’re not in the town centre in any case, so the extra police and whatnot will be of no use.
Having said that, there are a few town centre places selling designer items, and they should be extra careful at this time of year, especially when it comes to guarding readily portable stuff. After all, with a going rate in our courts of only a few months’ nick for stealing tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of goods and flogging them online, any shoplifters worth their salt will be all over the shelves like a plague of locusts.
Returning to tips for shoppers, another good one is to lay in a supply of carrier bags from shops where everything is a quid – there are several such shops to choose from – and hide our more expensive purchases in them.
Would-be thieves will then reason that the best they can hope for by nicking our stuff is a net profit of only 50p per item, and most will be put off.
Doing our Christmas shopping now while the town centre streets are relatively uncrowded is also very sensible, although those of us who really must wait until December can avoid trouble by doing our shopping before 2pm, while the crooks are still in bed.
Incidentally, visitors to the town centre shouldn’t worry too much about antisocial street drinkers. The odd one or two still venture in, but most have migrated to surrounding areas to harass and threaten the locals there instead.
Another good way of protecting ourselves against thieves is to use our own bags – perhaps ones made of stout cloth, leather, canvas or some other strong material – to carry our goods. That way, the would-be thief will have no way of knowing whether what we’ve bought is some lovely gift worth hundreds of pounds or a month’s supply of binbags. If we choose this option, though, we should make sure we empty the bags properly before setting out from the house.
Perhaps the last thing we carried in the bag, for example, was a supply of heavy duty rat traps or a family of false widow spiders collected from the garden, so inadvertently leaving them would be a potential safety risk to anybody who stuck their hand in there.
Better safe than sorry.
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