Torbay Council’s Community Safety Team and Devon and Cornwall Police are urging residents to avoid advertising their festive holiday plans, and expensive new gifts, on social media this Christmas.

Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Safer Communities, Highways, Environment and Sport, Councillor Robert Excell, said: “There is a tendency now to share so much information about ourselves online, particularly on social networking sites.

“While our online friends may be interested in our festive holiday plans, privacy online can be a real issue that not everyone considers. At this time of year, thieves may be searching the web to find out when and where homes will be unoccupied.”

“This accompanied with posting photographs and details of expensive new gifts online can, in some circumstances, put homes at risk. We would also urge parents and carers to talk with their children about what information they are posting online about their possessions and family whereabouts.”

As well as being encouraged to be cautious about the information they are publishing online, residents are also being advised to avoid leaving gifts on view in vehicles, and displaying presents by windows for would-be thieves to see.

Superintendent Glen Mayhew Devon, Policing Commander for South Devon, said: “Torbay is on the whole a safe place to live and while the vast majority of residents will enjoy the festive period without incident, it is important that we take sensible steps online and offline to protect our homes and valuables this Christmas.”

“We advise residents to close their curtains at night, hide valuable goods out of view at home and in their vehicles, and make sure that household doors and windows are locked. Approximately one third of household burglaries take place when a property is unlocked so an effective crime prevention solution is to make sure doors and windows are locked, even when the property is occupied.

“Residents may also wish to mark any new property to aid in its recovery if stolen, and also inform their insurance company about any new high value items. Those residents going away for Christmas should consider using timers on lights, ask someone they trust to regularly check their property is secure and remove any post from near the front door.”

For further festive safety advice visit the Safer Communities Torbay website at www.safercommunitiestorbay.org.uk/festivesafety or the Devon and Cornwall Police website at http://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/crime-prevention.


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