This weekend is the beginning of December, and for many it means that preparations for Christmas and New Year begin in earnest.
For ourselves, however, those preparations began months ago and Operation Winter City has already been under way for the past two weeks.
Those of you who have ventured out into the city centre to do some Christmas shopping, enjoy a night out, or savour the atmosphere of the various attractions in place, will have likely seen police out on high-visibility patrols, engaging with the public.
Our Winter City officers have a specific remit to provide a reassuring and friendly presence to Edinburgh’s residents, workers and visitors alike.
In addition, they will be able to respond to any incidents, which may arise, as well as providing people with a range of useful crime prevention and personal safety information.
We have a permanent presence in the city centre at our special Police Grotto, situated on the South West corner of St Andrew Square. This gives us quick and easy access to both Princes Street and George Street, which are two of Edinburgh’s busiest areas over the festive period.
The grotto is open daily so feel free to drop in if you wish to obtain safety advice, or report a crime.
While Christmas and New Year are a time of celebration for most of us, opportunistic criminals will use the coming weeks to take advantage of others. Please don’t allow yourself to fall victim to crime. If you’re out and about, keep your belongings on you safe at all times and never put them down or leave them unattended at any point.
Please also remember that if you are enjoying a festive night out, to drink responsibly and not let a great evening be spoiled by excessive alcohol consumption. All too often we respond to a range of incidents where alcohol has been a contributing factor and leaves people in vulnerable situations.
From Saturday, 1 December, we will be running our annual social media Countdown to Christmas calendar.
This year, 16-month old toddler Holly will be the star of the calendar and will appear throughout the month to provide some useful messages aimed at keeping the public safe.
If you would like to follow Holly and the Winter City team as they deliver our crime prevention and personal safety messges then please like the Edinburgh Division Facebook page.
Chief Superintendent Gareth Blair is Divisional Commander for Edinburgh.