Look out for your neighbours this Christmas

POLICE chiefs are urging residents to support their communities this festive season by being alert and watchful in looking after themselves and each other.

As part of Suffolk Police's '12 Themes of Christmas' campaign, officers are urging people to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and report it to police.

Throughout the festive season people will be out and about visiting friends and family and thieves will see this as an ideal time to strike. Residents who are planning on being out of their property for a long period of time are advised to tell a trusted neighbour and ask someone to collect mail from the door.

While reporting suspicious activity to the police is important there are other ways of engaging with your community during this period. With the dark evenings and colder temperatures there could be vulnerable people in your road or area who may require help and support. If you know of someone who is elderly or vulnerable living nearby then consider the following:

• If you have any concerns at all then knock on the door and check they are safe and well.

• Check to see if older people can get to the shops and have what they need in the house.

• Encourage people to use their heating, drop in some essential supplies or extra blankets if you can, and make sure that their driveways and steps are ice-free.

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• If you have serious concerns, contact the emergency services.

Communities across the county are already getting together in the spirit of Christmas, many of them through local Neighbourhood Watch Schemes (NWS).

Community Safety's Chief Insp Kerry Pauling said: 'We would like all residents of Suffolk to have a trouble-free Christmas and so we are encouraging everyone to help the police and each other. First and foremost we would encourage residents to keep an eye on each other's property and report any suspicious activity to us immediately. By doing so we can reduce the chances of someone's Christmas being spoilt. We would also like communities to keep an eye on each other. It is a busy time of year for everyone but it only takes a few moments to check the welfare of a vulnerable neighbour.

'There are Neighbour Watch Schemes running throughout the county and it is encouraging to see people's community spirit. Town Pastors are also a prime example of the people helping out in their community, however you don't have to be a part of any schemes or groups to get together with neighbours and do what you can to ensure that this festive period is one that everyone enjoys.'

• If anyone sees any suspicious activity they are asked to contact Suffolk Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. In case of an emergency you should call 999.

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