The sun is here and it finally feels like summer. City centres will be filling up with crowds of people, who seek to enjoy the range of entertainment on offer. It is no surprise that summer is therefore an attractive season for thieves wanting to capitalise on the crowd increase and prey on tourists in partciular, who might be unfamiliar with the city.
London is a relatively safe city. The UK is listed as 33rd out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries with the biggest risk purported to be pickpocketing. However, it is always best to be cautious if you value your possessions.
We have put together some tips for how to stay safe whilst enjoying London and ensure you are doing all you can to protect your valuables and yourselves from opportunistic criminals.
* Avoid wearing expensive jewellery – especially if it draws attention.
* Hide cameras, mobile phones and other valuables in a bag or hidden, zipped compartment of your clothing when walking around the city, especially in highly crowded areas.
* Do not store your mobile phone in your back pocket.
* Avoid talking on your mobile phone, texting or taking selfies in the street, especially by the curb where you may fall victim to moped thieves.
* Try to avoid walking alone at night and keep to well-lit main roads.
* Beware of wearing headphones, as they reduce your awareness of what and who is around you.
* Only use Black Cabs or registered minicabs. If in doubt, the Black Cab, being easy identifiable, will give you reassurance for your safety. Alternatively, London has one of the best public transport systems in the world, which is much more cost-effective for covering more of the city quickly.
* Plan your route before you leave. You can use the TFL website for buses and the tube or a smartphone application for street maps, such as Google Maps.
* Keep your handbag closed or zipped, and your wallet in an inside pocket and not in the rear pocket of your trousers.
* Only carry your essentials for the day – leave as many valuables as you can locked away or in your hotel or apartment safe.
* When sitting at a bar, restaurant or on a public bench, or if relaxing in a park, for example, ensure that you hook a handle of your bag around your wrist, leg or chair leg, where appropriate to avoid it being snatched from you.
* Don’t leave your bag unattended anywhere in London – this can lead to a security alert.
* Avoid carrying large sums of money with you and keep your purse or wallet close to your body
* Exchange your currency at a bank or at the hotel, not on the street.
* When using a cashpoint, check that no one is standing near you and that the ATM hasn’t been tampered with. Cover the keypad so no one can see your PIN number.
* Separating your cash and keeping it in different places will avoid any large amount being taken if you do become a victim or pickpocketing.
* If you are targeted by criminals, you can call 101 to report it. For more serious crimes and emergencies, you can call 999 o 112 for the police, ambulance or fire service.
* Keep the number of your bank handy in case you need to report or cancel a stolen card.
London is an amazing city with an abundance of experiences to be had. By following this advice, you can be sure to enjoy it without worry.