POLICE in Lisburn are to step up high visibility patrols around the city this month as part of their Operations Season's Greetings campaign to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Christmas.
The patrols will focus on hot-spot areas in an effort to prevent crime and reassure residents, business owners and those enjoying the area's night-time economy.
Officers will patrol on foot, in cars and on bikes around key shopping areas, night-life spots and major car parks and throughout December crime prevention stands in Bow Street Mall, Lisburn Square and Sprucefield will distribute advice.
Lisburn Area Commander, Chief Inspector David Moore, said the campaign will help generate a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.
"However, we need people to help us look after them by taking basic precautions and looking after their own safety as well," he said.
"A community newsletter will be distributed in December outlining measures that can be taken to prevent burglary and this will be supported by an advertising campaign 'Lock it or Lose it'.
"We would also urge retailers to think seriously about their security and check their premises regularly for anything suspicious. Anyone seeking crime prevention advice should contact the local Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 600 8000," Chief Inspector Moore added.
Chairman of the Lisburn DPP, Councillor Arthur Carson, said the patrols will provide 'positive reassurance' to retailers and shoppers and acts as a deterrent to the criminals.
His comments were echoed by Safer Lisburn Community Safety Partnership Manager Laurence Kerr who also welcomed the increased visibility of Police.
C/I Moore said it was important for revellers to think ahead and take some basic safety steps when planning a night out during the festive season.
"We fully recognise that Christmas is a time for celebration and we do not want to spoil anybody's fun. However, by following a few straight-forward guidelines you can have a good night out and stay safe at the same time."
Among the advice is don't leave gifts inside the car - take them with you or lock them in the boot; be alert at all times; don't keep all your money in the one place and be vigilant around ATM machines; when parking your car, park in a well-lit area; don't leave Christmas presents in your home for all to see and if you are going away over Christmas inform Police and ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your house.
Other advice includes - if you are going to drink, drink responsibly; plan your journey home in advance; stay in well lit, familiar areas; don't become separated from your friends — look out for each other; never accept a drink from someone you don't know and always ensure you have enough to get yourself home.