Richard Horan: Keep belongings safe this Christmas

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THE festive period is now well and truly upon us, and a number of people will now have begun their preparations for Christmas.

Many homes have either put up their Christmas trees and decorations, or will be doing so in the coming days.

This means homes will now have items intended as gifts currently sitting beneath their trees or stored somewhere within their property. These items, alongside other valuables, can be attractive to criminals.

Tackling housebreaking and associated acquisitive crime is an important issue for many members of the public and throughout Edinburgh we are exploiting various opportunities to deal with this most invasive of offences.

Here in the south of the city we have further expanded the ongoing campaign with SmartWater to a number of additional homes in the Grange, Greenbank and Morningside areas.

The recipients of the property-marking kits have been fully briefed on how to use the SmartWater solution and have also been provided with special signage for their homes and streets, which notifies others that SmartWater is in use in the area.

We are also currently busy promoting our Shop Safe initiative in the city centre and at shopping malls. These areas are all witnessing increased footfall with many people buying presents and other goods and we are eager to ensure shoppers are not easy targets for criminals.

If you are out purchasing items please be continually aware of your surroundings and make sure your wallets and purses are suitably stored out of sight and handbags are always zipped or buttoned shut.

Once these items are at home please ensure your properties remain appropriately secured with doors and windows being locked whenever you are out and when you retire for the evening.

Remember that sheds, garages and outbuildings are extensions of your home and similar security considerations should be given to these buildings, which may currently be storing high-value goods.

We are committed to making sure the public remains safe all year long and not just throughout the festive period. If you wish more advice on crime prevention or safeguarding your homes and belongings, please contact your local policing teams.

Richard Horan is Local Area Commander, Edinburgh South