Stay safe and enjoy the Festive Season, with regards from An Garda Siochana

By Kathrin Kobus

The busiest shopping period of the year is approaching its climax a little over a week from today. Here are some tips to stay safe and have no mishaps.  

Online shopping and selling

Check and double check the browser address. If it changes from ‘http’ to ‘https’ that should be a red flag. Otherwise check for a secure connection indicated by the padlock icon or unbroken key icon on the web browser.

These are the top five groups of items where you might find offers simply too good to be true: smart phones, digital cameras, Designer goods including jewellery and branded handbags and boots, laptops and notebooks, video game systems.

Shopping in the street/malls

If out and about in the shops or at the stalls, don’t put your handbag into the shopping basket or trolley.

Beware of counterfeit currency, namely bank notes. In recent months there have been repeated warnings about ‘movie money’ in form of ten or twenty euro notes being in circulation.

If you withdraw cash at an ATM, shield your hand when entering the pin. Same applies when you are paying by card and entering pin at the till.

If you see people acting suspiciously at an ATM Machine walk away and ring the local Garda Station immediately.  Report any apparent malfunction at an ATM, such as damage to the card or money slots of the ATM or money not being dispensed. 

Thieves will watch carparks so don’t leave valuables on the seats or otherwise visible, or drop some purchases into the booth and return shopping.

Make your home safe

Burglaries increase significantly in winter months. The annual advice:    

1. Secure all Doors and Windows.

2. Light up home, use timer switches when out, make the place look occupied.

3. Store keys safely and away from windows & letterboxes fishing to snatch car keys from the nearest table.

4. Record details of any valuables and don’t keep large cash amounts at home.

5. Use your alarm, even when at home.

Over Christmas

• Put presents under the Christmas tree early on Christmas morning and not in the evening especially if you go out for Midnight Mass.

• If you are expecting a parcel or more, make sure someone is there to receive it, or ask a neighbour to take it in. Avoid Postman Pat simply leaving boxes on the doorstep.

• Don’t leave emptied boxes packaging on view outside to advertise what is brand-new inside the house.

Going away for festive period

• Make your home look occupied

• Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries

• Trusted neighbours may be able to help you by collecting your post, opening and closing curtains and they could park their car on your driveway

• Don’t discuss holiday plans where strangers may hear details of your absence from home

• Post your holiday snaps once you are back

• Leave important documents and valuable items with other family members or a bank or lock them in a safe.

• Put your work/office address on your luggage.

• and finally the most important bit: lock all outside doors and windows and turn on your alarm.

Phone numbers

In case of emergencies call 999 or 112 or local Garda station.

Here is also an additional list of numbers for specific emergencies:

Crime Victims Helpline: 116 006

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: 1800 77 88 88

Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900

Child Line: 116 000

And Samaritans: 116 123