Richard Horan: Stay vigilant during Festival

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AS we pass mid-August, Edinburgh’s festivals are all building towards the crescendo that is the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert on Sunday, August 31.

I do hope you have noticed the additional high-visibility patrols we have deployed in both the city centre and Southside. What you probably haven’t noticed are the extra plain-clothed officers we have deployed to target those who look to use the cover of crowds to commit crimes.

So far, violent crime is down both in the “Festival footprint” and the wider city. In the South Neighbourhood Area, robbery is down by 15.4 per cent, common assault down by 11.5 per cent and disorder down by 3.4 per cent. We in your local policing team are committed to maintaining these reductions.

Almost as soon as the festival crowds disappear, the city prepares to welcome a whole new group of residents. With our many universities and colleges, several thousand will arrive in the city in September.

I know many of these students choose to stay in the South Neighbourhood Area and we work closely with a multitude of partners to ensure they have a safe, secure and enjoyable stay.

Edinburgh remains a very safe city, but much of the advice we give out to new students, particularly around their property, remains equally of use to all residents.

Please take reasonable steps to secure your property, as many thefts are opportunistic and preventable. Recently, we have seen an increase in the theft of cycles and other property particularly from sheds and cars.

Many items stolen from vehicles have been left in plain sight, so please remove them when you leave your vehicle – leave nothing at all on view. It takes a thief less than ten seconds to break into a car.

Make sure there are no easy routes into your garden, and that your shed is locked with a solid, secure padlock and robust hasp. Consider fitting coach bolts to external door hinges, illuminating the shed and fitting a battery powered shed alarm.

Unless you are cycling or maintaining your bike, it’s simple – always lock it up, ideally with two different types of lock, one of which should be solid secure, to an immovable object. If you do store your bike in a shed, consider a ground anchor.

There’s useful crime prevention advice on our website at http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/safety-advice/at-home-and-work/, and your local community officer can provide advice and information.

While my officers will make every effort to recover your property, we’d much rather you didn’t become a victim of crime in the first instance.

• Chief Inspector Richard Horan is Local Area Commander, Edinburgh South