Eyes on the ground

Geraldine Panapasa | Sunday, December 17, 2017
Christians around the world are gearing up to commemorate one of the most important events in their annual calendar. And with only a few days shy of Christmas Day, safety and security has become top priority for the police force.

In yesterday's edition of The Fiji Times, Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho assured the public that police officers would be out and about conducting beat patrols to curb criminal activities during the festive season.

He has set an example for his officers by personally doing beats around crime hot spot areas and collaborating with business owners in the capital and urban centres to address this issue.

The festive season is usually one of the busiest of times for shoppers, who flock to major urban centres in huge numbers to take advantage of special discounts or to get last-minute preparations sorted.

The mad rush during the festive period often presents an opportunity for criminals to strike, targeting unwary or distracted shoppers.

Hence the call from police to exercise caution especially when pickpocketing and petty crimes seem to top the list of criminal activities this time of the year.

Some of the hot spot areas that police identified for pickpocket operations include ATMs, around escalators and sometimes crowded spaces.

Shoppers aren't the only ones being targeted and according to police, even people who are intoxicated and car owners are also at risk of being targeted by thieves looking to earn a quick buck from someone else's hard work.

Over the next few days, the hype in the lead-up to Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day will be high and police continue to urge the public to take proactive measures seriously to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

One advice is to be mindful of your valuables and money whether they're in your bag or vehicle.

Always keep a close watch on people acting in a suspicious manner. Be cautious of your surroundings and if you feel or sense danger, keep away or bring this to the attention of police.

"We have identified people moving around waiting to pounce on people, we have seen people walking around with their back pockets open, and we have told them 'look your wallet is clearly visible and you need to button up or zip up that pocket'," Brig-Gen Qiliho had said.

Jewellery snatching and home invasions are also on the watchlist of possible crimes this time around so if you're planning to leave home, inform your neighbours to keep an eye on your property.

"Get friendly with your neighbours so that you look after each other ... People need to look after each other," Brig-Gen had said.

Be responsible and vigilant this festive season.

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