A few simple safety tips can help make sure nothing spoils your festive fun.
- 12 online frauds of Christmas (National Trading Standards)
- Fire safety in winter (GOV.UK)
- Stay safe at home
- Stay safe when you are out
- Crime prevention
- Doorstep crime
Staying safe from criminals
Criminals are opportunists and dark nights of winter months are ideal for crime.
You can help prevent crime with:
- locks - lock doors and windows in your home, your garage, your shed and your car, and in particular make sure you properly lock UPVC doors by lifting the handle and locking the door with the key
- lights - leave a light on if you are out after dark, perhaps using a timer for lights and a radio, and walk home along busy well-lit streets or park your car in an area which will be lit after dark
- markings - use a security marking pen to postcode-mark your belongings, and then add signs to deter thieves
- care not to display valuables - don't advertise valuables like mobile phones either in your home, your car or while walking along, and in particularly don't leave jewellery in an accessible place like a dressing table
- journey planning - plan how and with who you will get home, let someone know where you are and when you will be home, avoid empty compartments on trains, sit near the driver on the bus, and only use taxis that are licensed
- Christmas gift care - if you've been stocking up on Christmas gifts already, don't forget to keep them in a secure place that's not within easy reach, and to dispose of packaging without advertising your purchases
- reporting - if you see anything or anyone acting suspiciously report it to Essex Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency, or anonymously to Crimestoppers via 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Winter car crime
Never leave your car engine running on cold winter mornings while you defrost the windscreen.
Vehicles are stolen every year when owners leave their keys in them while the car is warming up.
Winter safety in the saddle
Always use lights and wear reflective clothing during the winter months.
- clothing that's appropriate for cycling so you can move freely without anything getting caught in your bike's chain or wheels, or covering your lights
- light-coloured or fluorescent clothing or accessories, like a belt or arm bands or ankle bands
- a helmet that meets the British Standard (BS EN 1078:1997), fitting snugly and squarely on your head
You should replace your helmet every 5 years - never buy a second-hand helmet.
Lights and reflectors are compulsory at night. You should have:
- a white front light
- a red rear light
- a red rear reflector
- amber or yellow pedal reflectors on the front and back of each pedal
You should also:
- fit a bell to your bike so you can signal to other road users
- consider using panniers as a rucksack or bag may affect your balance
- stay alert - don't listen to music or use a mobile phone while cycling