Area254 Crime Advice
There are several simple things we can do to protect ourselves from crime. Area254 offers this top tips.
If you witness a crime
Call 999(Landline) or 112(Mobile)
If it's safe to do so, take a photograph or video on your mobile phone. Remember, however, that the police are likely to need your phone as evidence.
Record details of times, number plates, descriptions and so on. If you don't have a pen with you, leave a voicemail message on your mobile phone or write a draft text message. As soon as you can find a pen and paper, write down the information in as much detail as possible.
Let the police know what you've seen. Don't assume others will come forward. Many crucial witnesses walk away thinking someone else will report it.
If you witness anti-social behaviour in local area
Call the police and explain in detail what has happened.
No one should live in fear in their own home, but think rationally before going hell for leather. If you think the situation could turn violent, let the police tackle it. You may still be able to assist in other ways to help resolve the problem.
If it's safe, take photographs or write a diary about what you've seen. Such evidence can be crucial. Remember, however, that the police are likely to need the diary and camera as evidence.
If someone threatens you with a knife
Give them what they want. Don't attempt to fight back.
Try to get to a safer environment. Call 999.
Tell the operator exactly what happened in as much detail as possible. Try to stay calm. It can be difficult in a scary situation, but the incident will be dealt with as a priority call.
Police officers should come as soon as possible to help you and try to catch the offender. Give as much detail as possible about the offender's clothing, which direction they ran in, their age etc.
How to stay safe when out and about
Always carry spare money in a separate pocket or bag. Don't leave all your eggs in one basket.
Never walk alone through unlit areas or across commons. This may sound obvious, but many people still do this to save five minutes on a journey home. Stick to well-lit areas.
Don't wear headphones late at night. These block the sound of anyone approaching from behind and advertise the fact that you have an MP3 player. Attackers are also often opportunist thieves on the look out for easy targets.
Talking on the phone is even worse. A thief could whip it out of your hand and be away before you have time to blink.
Women, keep a pair of flat shoes in your bag for the walk home. Many attackers are opportunists looking for vulnerable-looking people. Don't let that be you
Walk with confidence even if you don't feel it.
Be vigilant. If you think someone may be following you, cross the road. If they follow, go into a shop or petrol station. These are safe places as other people are around and most shops have CCTV.
How to stay safe on the roads
Lock your doors when driving. This will stop anyone trying to grab possessions from the back or passenger seats, and protect you from anyone who may try to get you out of the car.
Record and register your bicycle and lock it to an immovable object. Don't leave any items on display in your car, even coats, bags etc. Etch your registration number on all surfaces of your car. Most garages can do this for a minimal cost.
How to safegaurd your belongings
Register your mobile/computer with the relevant authorities. The IMEI number on the box can be vital in getting a stolen phone back.
Don't have anything identifiable on your USB stick, such as your name, address and vehicle registration. Keep useful numbers in your phone, such as stolen bank cards, pin numbers and passwords but don't label them as such! Use black headphones with your MP3 player. White ones are too distinctive.