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Security – Personal Safety

pickpocet

Photo London Metropolitan Police

Even in a city as busy and crowded as London, incidents of mugging and pickpocketing are still quite low. Knowing how and where criminals who commit these crimes operate will help you avoid falling victim to them.

Thieves frequently operate:

  • At tube stations.
  • At cash machines.
  • In car parks.
  • Around bus stations.
  • In overcrowded areas, especially at rush hour.

Be aware and keep your possessions safe:

  • Never leave your bags or other valuables unattended in public places.
  • Be discreet with your belongings; displaying expensive jewellery or electronic devices, like mobile phones or cameras, could attract unwanted attention.
  • Don’t make your mobile phone a moving target. Don’t tempt mobile phone thieves, be aware when making a call.

Reduce the risk of mobile phone theft by following these simple tips:

  • Don’t leave your phone on tables in pubs or restaurants.
  • When you leave a train or tube station don’t use your phone immediately, leave it a while.
  • Don’t walk and text at the same time, you will be less aware of what is happening around you.
  • Keep calls in public places as brief as possible, the longer you talk, the more likely you are to be spotted by a potential thief.

Looks good enough to grab

Be aware of chain-snatch thieves and keep your jewellery out of sight. Snatch robberies can involve violence or theft. The chance that this will ever happen to you is quite small, but you should be aware of what you can do to keep yourself and your property safe:

  • Make sure your jewellery is not visible.
  • Plan your journey in advance.
  • Avoid dark or deserted areas late at night.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert to what’s going on around you.

How to get your personal items security marked

There are several ways you can mark you property to help protect your personal items further.If you have any information on stolen goods, report it to the police by calling 101. If it is an emergency dial 999.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security – Transport Travel Safety

trnaport police

Photo (London Transport Police)

London Transport Police  Travel Safety Advice

Whilst London’s transport system is generally safe, a few simple precautions can further reduce risks:

  • Keep handbags and bags fastened closed and wallets in inside pockets
  • Keep cash, mobile phones, MP3 players and other high value property such as laptops out of sight
  • Keep your luggage with you at all times – this helps us avoid unnecessary security alerts and delays
  • Report any unattended bags, luggage or suspicious activity immediately to a member of staff, a police officer or use the green emergency button on the station Help point
  • If making your journey by minicab or taxi, always book your journey through a licensed operator. Text CAB to 60835 to get local licensed minicab and taxi telephone numbers sent to your phone – CABWISE
  • Use well-lit and safe routes to and from locations and not short cuts – always plan your journey home before you set out. Look confident and walk purposefully to your destination.
  • Report any incidents to members of station staff or a police officer. In an emergency, always dial 999. For further advice on reporting any crime, antisocial behaviour or low-level behaviour on the transport network view this link.
  • When travelling late at night try to sit with other passengers in busy carriages wherever possible. Otherwise, you could also sit close to the driver.
  • The consumption of alcohol is not permitted on public transport. If you see someone flouting this rule report it to a member of staff or to a police officer as soon as possible.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security – Travelling on Trains

trnaport police

Photo London Transport Police

How to beat pickpockets

  • Keep purses secure and carry wallets in an inside pocket.
  • Zip up hand and shoulder bags.
  • Carry bags in front of you with flaps against your body.
  • Keep straps short and bags tucked under your arm.
  • Don’t display jewellery.
  • Don’t show your money — keep it safely in your pocket.

Protect your gadgets

  • Install a tracker application on your smartphone, which could help trace your device if it’s stolen.
  • Stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you when using your phone in public.
  • We’re more likely to recover your property if you have marked it properly. Register your bicycle at www.bikeregister.com and your phone and other electrical gadgets at www.immobilise.com.
  • Keep a record of the unique reference number (IMEI) on your mobile phone. To get this, dial *#06#.
  • Always use your phone’s security lock or PIN number.
  • Use an ultra violet property marker to write your post code and house number on valuable possessions.
  • Insure your possessions and keep the insurance details handy.

Keep your luggage safe

  • Try to keep luggage close by and in view and check on your bags regularly.
  • Don’t leave valuable items unattended on a train when you visit the toilet or buffet car.
  • If you are going to sleep on a train, do not leave valuables in view on the table or seat next to you. Keep them hidden.
  • Ensure any bags placed on the on the floor are in front of you so that any movement of the bag will be noticeable.

If you become a victim

We’re here to help you. We know how distressing it can be to become a victim of any crime, and we will do everything in our power to find the perpetrator.

To report a crime, you can call us on 0800 40 50 40 or tell a police officer or member of station staff immediately. In an emergency always call 999.

If you have been the victim of a robbery, try and remember as much information about the perpetrator as you can and preserve whatever evidence there is.

If you witness a crime, you should report it to us on 0800 40 50 40, tell a police officer or contact transport staff as soon as you can.

Lost property

If you have lost your property on a train or at a station, report it immediately to a member of transport staff who will put you in touch with the relevant lost property office. It is an offence to report something stolen if you actually lost it.

For more information about lost property on the Tube visit the Transport for London website.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security – Mobile Phones

phones

London Metropolitan Police

General Advice

Whilst we continue to tackle those involved in mobile phone crime, we ask you to consider the following steps to help prevent you becoming a victim of crime:

  • Ensure you keep a record of your IMEI  – you will need this if your phone is lost or stolen.
  • Register your phone for free on the Immobilise website. This helps Police to identify you as the owner and return your handset if lost or stolen.
  • Use security or PIN locks to protect your data and prevent the phone being used if stolen. Try to ensure these are not easily guessed, such as 1234, or your birthday.
  • When not in use, never leave your phone unattended in a public place or vehicle.
  • Take particular care of your phone at  bars, cafes, coffee-shops, restaurants and music venues – thieves have targeted these venues.
  • If using your phone in public, stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
  • Never reply to spam messages you may receive over SMS or Bluetooth, even to text ‘STOP’.
  • Consider installing a tracker application on your smartphone, it could help trace your device if stolen. If you are unsure which ‘app’ to install seek advice from the manufacturer of your smartphone. If your device is stolen, act quickly – inform the Police and tell them you have a tracker app installed.
  • If your phone is stolen, report it to Police and your network. Ensure you have the IMEI number available for the Police. Your network will provide this free of charge.

Personal Data

  • Back up your  phone’s data, for example your contact list, photographs.
  • Don’t keep personal information such as bank details, home address or other data on your phone that be used by criminals to commit identity fraud.
  • Be careful when charging your phone on someone else’s computer or at a charge point. A lot of phones combine a data connection with the charger so you could end up having your data stolen without realising it.

Internet Usage

  • Don’t be lured into clicking on an unknown link to a web page – your phone could be infected with a virus.
  • Don’t connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, for example in a coffee shop or train station, unless you really have to look something up that doesn’t require you to enter personal details or passwords.
  • Quick Response (QR) codes can be scanned by your smartphone to give you access to product information or promotions online. Don’t scan any that look like they have been tampered with or stuck on over the top of packaging code that can leave your phone open to security attacks.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security – Cycling Safety in London

cycling

Photo London Metropolitan Police

Cycle Task Force Advice

Cycling could be even safer – fact. There is a lot of interest in making the streets and junctions safer for cyclists. Here at the Cycle Task Force, we’re actively involved in making suggestions, evaluating new ideas and proposing sites for attention. But did you know that you can make every street safer next time you get on your bike? Most serious crashes fall into one of seven categories, so it’s relatively straightforward to make ourselves even safer. Even better, it doesn’t mean making big changes to the way we ride; we’re only talking about a few sensible precautions.

Most serious cycling collisions involve other vehicles and we usually come off worse. The only effective way to stay safe is by riding skilfully and smartly, taking responsibility for our own safety Police drivers and motorcyclists are taught “roadcraft”, which relies heavily on anticipation – asking “what if?” and considering a range of options. Think of the following as your “ridecraft”.

1. HGVs The number one killer of cyclists in London: lorries turning at junctions. More than half the fatal crashes in the capital happen because of this. So keep yourself safe and seen at junctions. If the lorry driver – sat high up in his cab – hasn’t spotted you before the lights go green, you could end up in a dangerous situation.

What went wrong? 1. HGV pulls up at the red traffic light, deliberately leaving a large gap along its nearside, giving it room to turn. 2. Cyclist spots the gap and promptly rides directly into this space, stopping alongside the nearside door of the HGV’s cab – in the driver’s blind spot. 3. Lights change. Cyclist and HGV move off, but HGV driver is unaware of cyclist and turns left which could lead to a fatal accident.

How to avoid a dangerous situation: 1. The first and safest option is to hang back and wait behind for the HGV to manoeuvre, keeping yourself clear of danger. 2. The second option is to pass down the right-hand side of the HGV – provided you are sure that a) the HGV is not turning right and b) there are no other hazards on the right-hand side. 3. If you decide to pass the truck, then once you get in front of it, make sure the driver has seen you. Stop at the front of the stop-box, at least 2m ahead of the cab and make eye contact with the driver.

Cycle Task Force Guidance: HGVs often bear stickers saying ‘If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you’. But being able to see the mirrors doesn’t guarantee that the driver has seen you. The only way to be sure the driver has seen you is to get well ahead of the cab and make eye contact. So consider all the circumstances. Is the lorry indicating? Has the driver seen you? Is there room to pass safely on the right-hand side? If in any doubt, hang back.

2. Roundabouts Roundabouts are designed to keep the traffic flowing, but you’re out in the open. The second exit is your target, but what’s the safest way to get there? It’s vital to pick the line of least resistance.

What went wrong? 1. You’re approaching a roundabout and you want to go straight on – in this case, the second exit. Complying with the Highway Code, you elect to stay in the left-hand lane. 2. The driver of the car waiting to emerge onto the roundabout expects you to take the first exit, second-guesses your manoeuvre and pulls out (or the one behind you thinks the same and side-swipes you). 3. You wanted exit number two but you’ve collided with the car instead.

How to avoid a dangerous situation: 1. The Highway Code prescribes the left-hand lane of roundabouts for cyclists, regardless of the intended exit. However, if your exit is past the twelve o’clock position, it may be safer to take the same approach as other vehicles – the second lane. This will give motorists a better idea of your intended exit. 2. If you decide to keep to the left-hand lane, take a defensive position, a good metre out from the kerb – this will make it more obvious that you are not yet exiting the roundabout. 3. Do a life-saver check over your left shoulder before exiting the roundabout to make sure no vehicles have snuck up your inside, and if necessary give a hand signal to make it clear you are about to manoeuvre.

Cycle Task Force Guidance: Be as predictable as possible to other road users. Correct, defensive positioning on the road goes a long way towards indicating to drivers which exit you intend to take. Think like a car driver. The cars around you may not make special allowances for you just because you’re on a bike and exposed to greater risk than they are.

3. Door Floored Q: When does a stationary car become a hazard? A: When its door swings open into your path when you’re least expecting it. Steer well clear to stay out of harm’s way.

What went wrong? 1. You’re riding along, approaching a row of parked cars. 2. You check your right shoulder and safely move out to pass the cars. 3. As you get alongside the first parked car, suddenly the driver’s door swings open and bang. Your handlebars clip the door, which sends you pirouetting down the road.

How to avoid a dangerous situation: 1. The biggest mistake here was positioning. You didn’t leave enough room between the stationary car and the widest part of your bike. 2. Remember that on a bike you are considerably wider than your shoulder’s width, the width you’re used to squeezing through as a pedestrian. Make sure there is plenty of space on the road ahead to allow you to give plenty of room to pass. 3. Move out early to make yourself visible in the parked car’s mirrors, and pass leaving plenty of space – the width of a car’s door plus a little more. This allows room for your handlebars and pedals etc.

Cycle Task Force guidance: Moving out to give yourself plenty of space to pass parked cars means any motorists behind you may have to slow down and wait to overtake you, especially if you’re climbing a hill. Be courteous and acknowledge their patience. A little human interaction can have a powerful effect and cultivating mutual respect helps keep us all safe. It’s often possible to correctly predict a car door swinging open. Look in the driver’s mirror and through the rear window. Is the car occupied? If so, be on high alert. Read the signs and ride defensively.

4. Filtering Fiasco Filtering can get you ahead of the traffic and save time but can also be potentially hazardous, even fatal.

What went wrong? 1. The traffic is queued, moving at a creeping pace, and you’re filtering through it by zooming down the outside (or inside). 2. A car in the queue has stopped to allow another car to emerge and turn right. It drives directly into your path before you have a chance to react. 3. Your bike has smashed into the car’s wing and you’re flying over the roof.

How to avoid a dangerous situation: 1. Speed: are you filtering at a speed that makes allowances for unexpected events? If not, slow down. Queued traffic can conceal a multitude of potential hazards. 2. Read the road: ask yourself, why is there a gap in the queue of traffic up ahead? Is there a side-road or entrance from which a car is waiting to emerge? If so, be prepared – and don’t presume that the driver will see you. 3. Cover the brakes: be alert, ready to slow down and if necessary to take evasive action. An emerging car need not spell unavoidable disaster.

Cycle Task force guidance: The road environment is full of clues. Read them, and they will alert you to impending hazards. Just as a stationary bus means pedestrians might be about to emerge, a break in the traffic means there could be a hidden vehicle about to pull out. Junctions and side roads are usually obvious, but entrances and driveways far less so. Consider the entire landscape, not just the roads.

5. Red Light Recklessness Traffic lights are there for a reason: to prevent vehicles smashing into each other. Riding through red lights is hazardous to you and to motorists.

What went wrong? 1. You’re cycling towards a set of traffic lights and they change to red. 2. You’re in a hurry, late for work, and in a split-second instant of impatient, foolhardy judgement you decide to ignore the right light and plough on. 3. A vehicle proceeding legally albeit swiftly, through a green light is unable to stop in time and crashes into you.

How to avoid a dangerous situation: 1. Red means STOP, so stop. Refusing to do so puts you and others in danger.

Cycle Task Force guidance: There’s no excuse for not stopping at a red light. Not stopping at red lights on a bike – regardless of the illegality – is far too risky.
Witnessing cyclists riding through red lights is a major cause of resentment among drivers. At some point you’ll need a driver to act kindly towards you, for instance by giving you a space in traffic. Creating the right impression will help all of us.

6. Pedestrian Peril Where did they come from? A split-second ago the route ahead was completely clear – now it’s very much occupied in the shape of a vulnerable pedestrian dragging their shopping trolley.

What went wrong? 1. You’re pedalling along and suddenly an elderly woman steps directly into your path, leaving you only milliseconds to react. 2. You brake and swerve as best you can, but there’s no way to avoid contact, you clip her shopping trolley and skid into a parked car.
How to avoid a dangerous situation: 1. The clue in this scene is the stationary bus stop. You should have suspected that pedestrians might be preparing to cross the road. 2. Be wary of pedestrians and places where they could be concealed, such as between parked cars and behind road furniture. If in doubt, play it safe and slow down.
Cycle Task Force guidance: Many people aren’t aware that there is not a law against jaywalking in the UK. If a pedestrian steps out and causes you to crash, you’ve little recourse to law, apart from civil proceedings. It’s your responsibility to watch out for pedestrians.

We should be looking for clues that might warn us that someone is about to step out into our path – be aware that high-sided vehicles narrow your field of vision. Pedestrians often check for motor vehicles, and fail to consider that we can get through small gaps like cycle lanes. Survey the whole scene – between and even beneath stationary vehicles – you may catch sight of a pair of feet before they step out in front of you. Is that delivery man distracted by his phone? Has the elderly woman seen or heard you? Read people’s behaviour and body language, and ready yourself accordingly.

7. Straight-line Squeeze You’re riding along a straight road with no obvious hazards in sight when suddenly a truck appears alongside you and it’s getting perilously close. The straight-line crush is a cruel type of crash but not uncommon. However, there are effective steps you can take to stay safe.

What went wrong? 1. You’re happily cycling along in a defensive position on a straight road enjoying your daily commute. Adjacent, in the next lane, travelling at roughly the same speed is a truck driver who is likewise minding his own business. Neither party is aware of any imminent danger. 2. A gap in traffic appears ahead of you. The truck driver spots the gap but does not spot you. He manoeuvres left. 3. The next thing that happens is a direct sideswipe, knocking you from your bike. How to avoid disaster: 1. Ok, you did nothing wrong, but what could you have done differently? Think about your position. Here the usual defensive position, roughly 1m out from the kerb, is not the safest. You would have stood more chance had you been tucked in. Better still, staying in front of or behind the truck. 2. Pay attention to the traffic around you. Who’s doing what? Have the drivers seen you? Are they distracted? Are they about to manoeuvre? Expect the unexpected; be ever-ready to react.

Cycle Task Force guidance: The best defence against this type of incident is to be aware of the vehicles around you and be forever asking yourself, “What are they about to do?” Keeping pace with a large vehicle can be dangerous and how can you be sure that the driver knows you’re there? If you’re not sure, drop back. The defensive or primary position isn’t always the safest. Consider the possibility that it might be safer in certain circumstances to be tucked in next to the kerb. Read the road ahead. What’s coming up that may cause the traffic around you to change their course? Again, it’s about pre-empting danger as much as you can.

Security – Using ATMs

atm

London Metropolitan Police

Before you visit the ATM

Memorise your PIN. Never write it down or tell anyone else.

While you use the ATM

Be aware of your surroundings.

Don’t be distracted while using an ATM.

Use your hand to cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.

Never use an ATM where other people are lingering.

If you feel uneasy at any time, move to another machine.

After you’ve withdrawn your money Discreetly put your money away safely out of the view of others.

Report confiscated cards immediately.

If you can, don’t leave the machine. Instead, call the bank from the ATM where your card was taken using a mobile phone.

Never rely on the help of strangers to retrieve a confiscated card.

Keep close tabs on your day-to-day account activity, and immediately report any fraudulent or suspicious withdrawals