Greater Manchester Police are urging pupils across Wigan and Leigh to keep new gadgets like mobile phones and MP3 players out of sight to avoid becoming a victim of street crime.
Local police will be delivering crime prevention messages to high schools in the borough over the coming weeks to warn pupils to leave their new Christmas presents at home or risk losing them.
January is a peak time for street robberies as people step out with valuable new Christmas presents, and young people aged 14-17 are the most likely victims according to police statistics.
Last January, there were over 15 reported crimes of street robbery throughout the Wigan borough.
Top of the shopping list for thieves are mobile phones, with figures showing they are stolen in half of all street robberies.
Wendy O’Neil, Crime Reduction Advisor for Wigan division, said:
We are urging children and young people to leave their valuables at home or hide them when they are on the bus, waiting at the bus stop, on the street or even at school. Most robberies are opportunistic, so by keeping valuables out of view you can reduce your risk of becoming a target. While most people are out hunting for bargains in the sales, criminals may be on a spree of a different kind, especially in busy high street areas.
Police are issuing the following safety tips to pupils:
- Leave your valuable items at home, or at least out of sight. Don’t show off your favourite Christmas presents on the bus, in the street or in other public places.
- If you need to make a mobile phone call, go into a shop or café rather than phone or text on the street or on public transport. Don’t talk or text and walk!
- If you have your phone in your pocket or bag, turn off the ringer so that you don’t advertise where it is being carried.
- Use pin codes to lock your phone and register it at http://www.immobilise.com
- Don’t bring large amounts of money to school. Only bring what you will spend that day – for example, just enough money for your lunch.
- Keep to well-lit roads and public areas. Don’t use alleys or short-cuts.
- Stay alert. Turn off your personal stereos – they stop you being aware of what’s going on around you.
- If you think you are being followed, cross the road. If the person follows you, cross it again. If you are still worried, go at once to a place where there are lots of people, such as a busy shop, and tell someone what’s going on. If you can, speak to a police officer. If not, go to a family group rather than a single adult and tell them.
To report crime call police on 0161 872 5050 or for more information visit www.gmp.police.uk/mainsite/
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.