Cyprus Mail

Police warn of rise in thefts during holidays, beggars a new phenomenon

By Annette Chrysostomou

POLICE will be especially alert over the Christmas period, and they also warn the public to beware of thieves, gambling, beggars and committing traffic offenses.

A campaign for the prevention of road accidents will start on December 24 and last until January 6, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said in a statement on Wednesday. It will concentrate on speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and not wearing seatbelts and helmets.

Police will also have an increased presence in the streets to protect people from theft, but they invite people to take their own precautions as well. When shoppers are walking in busy streets, they should look after their money in their bags and garments. Shoppers should avoid carrying large amounts of cash and leaving their personal belongings exposed.

To avoid being burgled at home, home owners should ensure that the home is locked and keys are not left in the locks. Money, jewellery and other valuables should be kept in a safe when possible and not left lying around.

Other measures include cooperation with neighbours, installing an alarm system and securing doors, windows and skylights.

Shop owners are advised not to leave their cash tills open, and they should have an alarm system installed. Another advice is to record the serial numbers of electrical appliances.

Regarding car thefts, the police spokesman stressed the dangers which result from not looking after vehivles properly.  He warned that it is the responsibility of the owners of motor vehicles to safeguard them and their contents.

“Citizens should take all necessary and reasonable measures to ensure that motor vehicles are not used by unauthorised persons,” he said.

In particular, the public is asked not to leave bags, briefcases, mobile phones, laptop computers or any other valuables in visible places in the car, even if it is locked.

“The mere fact that they are seen by unscrupulous individuals is an incentive to commit theft,” Angelides explained.

He also advised drivers not to leave the motor running and remove the keys of the car when they are not in it. Cars should be parked in places where there is adequate street lighting.

Police also warned against beggars. “Begging is a criminal offense and is expressly prohibited by law,” the spokesman said, adding that “some of the beggars are already recipients of benefits from the social welfare services, while others may pretend a medical condition or other claim to elicit donations.”

Begging is also likely to occur under the guise of fundraising. The public is asked to call 1460 if they detect illegal cases, especially when these involve minors, or in urgent cases 112 or 199.

Betting will also be combated relentlessly over the holidays, with police checking public places daily and checking on online gaming.

The public is invited to collaborate with police and those who need further information can monitor the police website or find the Cyprus police on Facebook or twitter.

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