Shoppers in Bolton and Farnworth town centre have been given purse bells today to reduce their chances of falling victim to pickpockets.
Police officers and PCSOs have been talking to shoppers to give out leaflets and crime prevention advice, as well as free warning bells, which can be easily attached to handbags and purses and make a sound if thieves attempt to steal belongings. These are especially useful for older people who are more vulnerable to pickpockets.
This personal safety initiative is being run in conjunction with Bolton Council and aims to ensure shoppers are less likely to fall victim to crime over the summer months, when there could potentially be an increase.
The scheme is being supported by a poster campaign, which will be displayed in shops, cafes, bus and train stations around Bolton, reminding people to keep their belongings safely secured away while they are out and about.
Sergeant Paul Ellis who leads the Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "The devices such as the purse bells should help to make shopping safer for older and more vulnerable people in our community.
“By keeping valuable items, such as money, purses and wallets out of sight and zipped away and sticking to busy areas with a friend or family member, people can avoid becoming a victim of crime.”
Bolton Council's Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail added: "This is a joint initiative between the police and Bolton Council to try and make people aware of the steps they can take to protect their belongings and make the town centre a safer place to shop.
"Anyone can fall prey to a pickpocket, so shoppers should follow the handy tips when out and about. The purse bells are an added security measure for the elderly and more vulnerable shoppers and a great deterrent for would-be thieves."
Shoppers can reduce the chances of having valuables stolen by following some simple safety tips:-
- Don’t carry more money than you need to. Banks are there for a reason – to keep your money safe.
- Keep handbags fastened at all times and wear the strap across your body rather than over your shoulder.
- Keep your purse or wallet out of sight in an inside buttoned pocket or use a body belt.
- If you use a wheelchair, keep your things beside you rather than at the back of the chair.
- If you are using a pushchair, do not leave your bag or purse in the hood or the bottom of the pushchair.
- While using cash machines always keep your pin safe and put your money away as soon as you have taken it out of the machine. Always keep your PIN number away from your card and if possible try to memorise the number instead of writing it down.
- Spread your valuables around. For example, keep your phone in your jacket, your house keys in your pocket and your money in your bag.
- If someone does try to take something from you it may just be better to let them.