Watch out, Grinch about

Hello Cambridge and Te Awamutu,

Despite Covid-19 having caused the cancellation of some of the usual Christmas events, it is nevertheless great to see the festive spirit being expressed in other ways, from the recent shoebox Christmas float competition and subsequent roving Santa in Cambridge, Christmas lights, decorated houses and even letterboxes.

Deb Thurgood

The festive season doesn’t stop our criminals from continuing their activities, however. We have had a few burglaries of late, made even more upsetting as they sometimes include the theft of items intended as Christmas gifts.  It is also a time when courier packages may be targeted and as ever, we need to take some ownership for limiting our vulnerability to such opportunists.

While the warmer nights make it tempting to leave windows open for some cooler air, ensure you have security stays on your windows and keep doors and ranch sliders closed and locked.  Remember to close garage doors at night and refrain from leaving them fully open for long periods in the evening to cool down the house. Often this will simply show a thief the smorgasbord of goodies that you keep stored inside.

Consider having online purchases delivered to your workplace where someone will be there to receive them. If packages must be left at home, include instructions for a drop off location out of sight of the general passer-by. When I visited one house recently, a package was sitting in plain sight on the front doorstep, and no one was home. It could easily have been stolen without the owner being any wiser.

If your work vehicle will be left parked up outside on your property, bring valuable items such as laptops or work tools inside your house. These will otherwise certainly attract an opportunist thief and make your vehicle a prime target. You are inconvenienced not only by the theft of the items, but associated damage to the vehicle itself. When going in and out of your house loading/unloading from your vehicle, equally keep it locked and secure between trips.

Another key thing to consider at this time of year is water safety.  Ensure children are supervised when swimming and provide them with at least basic water safety and swimming skills.

Council rules require any pool that can be filled to a depth of 400mm or more must have a physical barrier like a fence, gate or door, regardless if they are full or have just a little bit of water in them. Know the depth of any body of water before you jump into it and look for possible obstacles. When at the beach, swim between the flags where surf lifeguards are present and look out for rips. Swim within your capabilities, wear appropriate swimwear and don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs!

When out on a boat, every vessel must have a skipper who has overall responsibility for safety and adherence to relevant maritime rules and bylaws – know what you are doing. Check the tides and weather before you leave shore. Ensure the seaworthiness of your vessel, that everyone on board has a life jacket and use a marine radio. In all cases, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Together, let’s make this Christmas a safe one. Don’t forget the sun cream – slip, slop, slap!

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