Shoppers urged to remain vigilant in Lowestoft

SUFFOLK Constabulary is appealing to all shoppers to be vigilant in December in an attempt to raise awareness and to continue to reduce the number of offences of theft from shop and purse/wallet thefts.

In December 2009, 285 offences of shoplifting were recorded in Suffolk. The previous year this figure was 301 - which shows a 5pc reduction from 2008 to 2009. The number of purse/wallet thefts also fell from 35 to 30.

Shoppers are being urged to consider their personal safety when out and about and to report suspicious activity without delay. There are a number of ways people can reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a purse theft:

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

• Keep your handbag closed and fastened with the fastener turned into your side.


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• Keep your purse safe at all times. Consider using a purse/key chain to secure your purse to your handbag but not to your clothing or preferably keep it in an inside pocket which would be harder for a thief to reach.

• Do not leave your valuables unattended on your shopping basket, trolley, pushchair or shop counters.

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• If someone knocks or bumps into you, check that they have not taken your purse or wallet out of or bag or pocket.

• Keep alert.

Community Safety's Chief Insp Kerry Pauling said: 'Shoplifting will not be tolerated. We take a positive and robust approach to shoplifting and we will do all we can to support local businesses to reduce such thefts. Razor blades are the most stolen item followed by cosmetics, alcohol, toiletries, lingerie, CDs and DVDs.

'We respect and understand the concerns of the retail community and by increasing our visibility and taking direct action against those committing such offences we aim to provide confidence to retailers and members of the public that the Christmas shopping experience can and will be a positive one.

'Our message to anyone thinking of shoplifting is to think twice, it's not a case of if you get caught, but when. With the combined approach of CCTV and the vigilance of retail personnel, security, the police, and the public you will be caught and brought to justice for your crimes.

'Try to keep the contents of your bag to a minimum and only carry as much cash as you need. There is often a lot of personal information in a handbag. Try to spread valuables about your person and keep car and house keys in a pocket and not with your name and address.

'Shoppers are easily distracted when choosing gifts or looking after children especially during this busy festive season and should always try to be aware of their handbags and wallets. Remember to keep your bag with you at all times, preferably over your shoulder and across your body and don't leave it unattended or in a shopping trolley or pushchair.

'These few simple steps can significantly reduce the risk of you becoming a victim of crime. Have a happy and crime free Christmas and New Year.'

• Members of the community are also being asked to help by reporting any acts of shoplifting or suspicious people or activity to the police immediately using 999.

• For more information about crime prevention measures contact Suffolk Constabulary on 01473 613500 and ask to speak to your local Crime Reduction Officer.

December 2008 and December 2009 shoplifting figures:

LOCATION DEC 2008 DEC 2009

Suffolk 301 285

Ipswich 119 158

Lowestoft 54 30

Waveney 59 39

Bury 27 33

Sudbury 10 10

Haverhill 15 2

Newmarket 24 8

December 2008 and December 2009 purse/wallet theft figures:

LOCATION DEC 2008 DEC 2009

Suffolk 35 30

Ipswich 12 11

Lowestoft 6 4

Waveney 6 5

Bury 7 6

Sudbury 2 0

Haverhill 3 0

Newmarket 3 2

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