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    Q481: Can you give me any advice about personal safety whilst out shopping?

    There are several websites which give sound advice on how to keep you and your belongings safe when out shopping. Listed below are a few points which will go some way to ensuring you do not return empty handed:

    • Make sure your purse, mobile phones and other valuables are well hidden from view, in the bottom of your bag or in a zipped pocket.
    • Do not carry large amounts of cash with you when shopping.
    • Keep pin numbers, cards and chequebooks separate.
    • If the fastening of your handbag is on the side, keep the side with the fastening closest to your body and not exposed.
    • Rucksack type bags with the opening on the back are not a good place to keep valuables as they are easily opened.
    • Do not carry too many bags of shopping as it makes you defenceless against pick pockets.

    In general though, wherever you are try and remember the following suggestions:

    • Do not walk home alone late a night. If you do then choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
    • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
    • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading and listening to music can be distracting.
    • In a busy public place, try to only use your mobile phone in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone and whilst using it you are distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
    • If you are attacked it is often better to shout "fire" rather than "help", it tends to attract more attention.

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