Galway gardaí advise Christmas shoppers to beware thieves

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Galway Gardaí are urging Christmas shoppers to take care this holiday season, and have issued some tips to not fall victim to thieves.

Sergeant Michael Walsh of the Crime Prevention Unit says that people shouldn’t leave their purchases unattended in their cars, as their is also a spike in thefts from cars around Christmas.

This is especially true during peak shopping times, between 2pm and 9pm. Take care to lock your car and not to leave anything on display for opportunistic thieves.

In the busy atmosphere of a packed shopping centre around this time of year gardaí also see an increase in thefts of wallets, purses, keys, and handbags while people are distracted.

“Don’t make it easy for the criminal, keep cash and other valuable items in an inside secure pocket or other secure location,” Sergeant Walsh said.

Lock-Up & Light-Up is the key message in An Garda Síochána’s anti-burglary awareness campaign which encourages homeowners to protect their homes over the winter months, when burglaries traditionally tend to rise.

Check your outdoor lights all work properly, and consider using a timer switch to bring on an internal light when you’re not home.

And while online fraud is a serious concern at any time of the year, it is especially prevalent with increased on-line shopping on the run-up to Christmas.

“Never buy anything online from an un-encrypted website. You’ll know if a site is secure because it will start with HTTPS, instead of just HTTP.”

“An icon of a locked padlock will also appear, typically to the left of the URL,” Sergeant Walsh explained.

People should also pay with a credit card where possible if doing online shopping as it will have more protection.

While its not related to shopping, as the weather turns colder people should check on older or vulnerable people nearby who may be living alone.

Dropping in to say hello or a quick phone call to make sure everything is okay will always be welcome.

Snow and ice can often be a problem as many may not be able to get out to buy food, fuel or medical supplies