It is sensible for everyone to take precautions to keep themselves and their property safe. Personal security does not have to be expensive or complicated – by making simple changes to your daily routine and being aware of what is going on around you, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime.
Bedfordshire is a comparatively safe place to live but for every offence committed there is a victim left facing the consequences. Thankfully, incidents of mugging and pick-pocketing are low but if you are aware of how and where criminals who commit these crimes operate, it may help you to avoid becoming a victim. For this reason avoid underpasses and other dimly lit areas at night. Try not to walk alone and, if this is unavoidable, try to stay in well-lit areas where there are other people. Do not wear headphones, listening to your phone or music, if walking or jogging alone at night as you could not hear someone approaching you. Do not be tempted to take a short cut across parks, or similar land which seems empty, at night if you are on your own. Let family and firends know where you're going and what time you're likely to be back. Don't accept lifts from strangers.
If you see an individual or group of people who appear threatening to you in a particular spot, cross the road or try to take another route. Always try to be aware of your surroundings and look ahead to identify potential trouble spots and avoid them.
If you are on a night out, drink responsibly and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Do not leave your drink unattended so it could be spiked by someone adding a sedative or similar drug to the contents.
Try not to leave alone or leave a friend behind. Plan how you will get home in advance, where possible. If you are using a taxi, use a valid taxi service or online cab checker to confirm it is licensed or text the registration number to a friend.
Keeping your home/property safe
Always remember that your phone or handbag is less valuable than you. Do not risk getting hurt in an attempt to hang on to it if the worst happens and a thief tries to grab it and make off. Take precautions against this, especially if going out on your own. Do not put all your valuables (phone, purse, wallet etc.) in the same place, so that you do not lose everything if this happens. Try to keep some cash for an emergency separately from your main purse or wallet. Some banks offer a pin service to access cash from a cashpoint machine without your debit or credit card, if lost or stolen.
Keep mobile phones and similar items out of sight. You would not walk around holding a handful of cash, so treat your phone and other valuables in the same way.
Do not leave your bag or purchases unattended (for instance in a shopping trolley, or on a cafe table while getting food). Keep your bag zipped up and the contents private. Consider attaching bells to your purse or phone and wear your bag across your chest so that it cannot be pulled from your shoulder.
Keep the ‘prize’ out of sight. Make sure expensive belongings are not on view through a car window. Always lock your vehicle and, if unlocking it remotely, do so when you are just about to get into it, rather than from a distance. Take valuables out of cars and vans at night. If you have a work van, label it to show no valuables are left in it overnight.
Make sure you do not leave ladders, bins or tools where they can be used to enter a property. Keep doors and windows secure. Do not leave keys in the locks, especially when there is a window nearby and always keep keys out of sight. Do not leave a spare key in an obvious place such as under the doormat or a milk bottle or on top of the door frame.
Try to make sure expensive electronics, such as televisions, cannot be seen from the window, especially from the front of the property by passersby. Leave a light on when you are out at night and draw curtains and blinds. Don't leave a spare key in an obvoious place, like under a plant pot. Don't let burglars know when you're away avoid putting your trip on social media.
If possible, install a burglar alarm. If you are elderly or are vulnerable in a different way, the Bedfordshire Bobby Van scheme may be able to offer you a free home security inspection and, potentially, install security measures in your home free of charge.
What should I do if I feel threatened by someone?
If you feel that you or someone you know is at risk, contact your local neighbourhood police team via the non-emergency police number 101 or dial 999 if you are in a situation which you believe to be life-threatening.
You can also access help and advice through the following organisations:-
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime. You should report fraud to them if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. The site also gives advice on protecting against fraud and provides a list of useful organisations.
Age UK provide links to useful advice regarding staying safe online and information about the latest scams.
CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection) provides advice about staying safe online for children and parents and allows victims to report any online behaviour they are uncomfortable with.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping police locate criminals and solve crimes through anonymous reporting. The site also provides crime prevention advice for a number of crimes.
Immobilise is a free service which allows the public or business to register their possessions or company assets. The online checking service is used regularly by UK police to trace an owner’s lost and stolen property. The site helps to reduce crime and return property, once recovered, to its rightful owner.
Personal Safety Advice
The Personal Safety Advice site provides a wealth of personal safety advice for a number of different areas.
Secured by Design
Secured by Design is an official police initiative which focusses on design and security for new and refurbished homes, commercial premises and car parks, as well as identifying quality security products and crime prevention projects. The site provides helpful crime prevention tips on how you can protect your home or business against crime.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust
Suzy Lamplugh Trust offers personal safety advice and guidance on a wide range of subjects, especially in relation to stalking and harassment.
The Crime Prevention Website
The Crime Prevention Website contains free, comprehensive and up-to-date crime prevention advice to help you improve your home and personal security.
The Mix (formerly Get Connected) is a service designed for under 25s to support them with any issue they may be facing. After contacting and discussing the issue, the team can then put them in contact with relevant services.