LISTED: Police advice on how you can stay safe at Christmas

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James Laurie. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

Concern for Portsmouth teenager who has been missing for two weeks

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It may be a festive time of year, but Christmas is also a time to be extra wary of criminal activity - both at home and when out and about.

Hampshire Constabulary has put together a list of safety tips for people to help them keep safe.

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When shopping

- Park your car in a well-lit car park, preferably one that’s attended, and before you leave it make sure all windows and doors are locked.

- Avoid leaving purchases and presents in the vehicle, and if you do make sure they are kept hidden away from sight.

- Make sure your handbag is closed or wallet is in an inside pocket to reduce temptation from a pickpocket.

- Don’t leave bags unattended in a trolley - even for a couple of seconds.

- Try to pay for items on a card rather than carrying large amounts of cash.

- When buying presents for people, think if you can buy anything else to help keep them safe or secure (e.g. a bike lock).

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At cashpoints

- If you see someone suspicious cancel your transaction and use another cashpoint.

- Before inserting your card have a look at the machine to check that it looks normal.

- Make sure to shield your bank card PIN when taking out money at an ATM.

- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, only withdraw what you reasonably need.

- Put your money and cards away safely before leaving the machine.

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At home

- Put presents out or under the tree at the last minute and don’t leave them near a window.

- If you are buying or receiving valuable gifts such as bikes, mobiles or electrical items register them for free at www.immobilise.com so the police can help return them if stolen.

- If you receive any Apple products use the Find My iPhone app which can help you find them if they are lost or stolen.

- Don’t keep large amounts of cash at home.

- Make sure all windows and doors are locked and remove keys from sight whenever you leave the house.

- If you go out at night make it appear like someone is at home by drawing curtains and leaving lights on, or putting on the radio.

- Dispose of packaging carefully by breaking it down before putting it in the bin - empty boxes left outside can advertise your fancy new goods.

- Make sure your home contents insurance covers the extra things you have in your house over Christmas.

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Going away

- Check all door and windows are locked, and activate the alarm if you have one.

- Tell trusted neighbours you are away so they can keep an eye on your house and collect your post.

- Use timer switches on lamps and radios to make it look like someone is inside.

- Cancel any deliveries such as milk and newspapers.

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Going out

- Drink sensibly and stay with your friends.

- Plan how you are going to get home in advance, save a licensed taxi number on your phone and never get into an unlicensed taxi.

- Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended.

- If there’s trouble while you’re out stay well clear of it.

- Whether you’re male or female, avoid walking alone and never take shortcuts through dark alleys or large open spaces.

- Keep your belongings with you and your valuables out of sight; never leave bags hanging over a chair.

- Don’t drink and drive, and remember you may still be over the limit the morning after a big night out.

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Online

- Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date.

- Consider where deliveries will be left - don’t ask for parcels to be left on doorsteps, in porches or behind bins.

- Think about what you write on social media about what you have been buying and where you are going.

- Make sure a site is secure if you’re buying from it or putting in your personal details; look for the padlock displayed on the browser and that the web address starts with https.

- Remember financial institutions will never ask for your online banking details by email, or ask you to divulge your PIN.