Friday, Dec 14, 2018
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Personal safety during the holiday season

The Christmas season is here. It’s the occasion for spending time with family and friends. We buy gifts for those who mean the most to us, hoping to spread holiday cheer.

Economic activity picks up at Christmas. The stores are busy with shoppers. The streets are crowded as we go from place to place trying to find the right gifts.

Criminals try to take advantage of this. With the holiday season comes increased reports of breaking and entering, muggings, armed robberies and property thefts.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force customarily ups its patrols and presence during the holidays. Police are at most major commercial centers. Marked police presence is a proven deterrent to crime. The hardworking men and women of the force do their best to make us safer as we shop and go about our festive activities.

Police can only do so much, however. Residents too must be smart and vigilant.

When shopping in commercial districts, park in well-lit areas and do not leave valuables visible in vehicles. Limit how much money you expose when shopping. Stay away from ATMs late at night, or those located in remote and isolated places. And most importantly, be vigilant.

When in commercial areas, or nearing home, be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed call the police or drive to a police station. Do the same thing if there’s a suspicious vehicle parked near your residence. Don’t just pull in.

Ambush robbers prey on the inattentive. In fact, they seek them out. The woman on her cell phone all the way home, not realizing she is being followed, who remains on the phone at home in the driveway, is an easy victim for those with bad intentions.

Police officers make these practical suggestions often but too many do not listen until after they are victims. Don’t be one of these people.

The crime problem in New Providence is real. Don’t ignore it because you haven’t been a victim yet. The high murder counts get most of the attention. We had five murder records between 2007 and 2017. But the robberies and thefts have been at problem levels, too.

Too many of our young men are too willing to snatch a purse, break into a car or hold up another at gunpoint to get what they did not earn.

Do not be naive to the threats that exist. Practice vigilance and be mindful as you navigate our streets this holiday season.

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