The Business Crime Partnership in Dover decided to go to dramatic lengths to warn shoppers to keep their valuables secure. They invited professional magician Rob James to come to Dover to put items in people’s pockets and bags to show just how easily it’d be to take purses and phones out.
Organised by the Dover Partnership Against Crime – which covers Dover, Deal and Sandwich in East Kent – the ‘Putpockets’ team filmed Rob James placing the cards into people’s pockets and bags and then their reaction when they discovered them.
‘We kept seeing people with mobile phones visible in back pockets or with their bags open and purses, mobile phones and other valuables clearly on show,’ said DPAC co-ordinator Karen Griffiths. ‘So we decided to ask Putpockets to come to Dover to show people how easy it is to lose valued items like mobile phones, credit cards and their identity, and stress to the public how careful they need to be. It’s really important to make people aware that it can, and does, happen to anybody.’
Several of those who were targeted said they realised that if someone could put something into their bag, they could easily have taken something out. “It won’t be open again,” said one woman.
Sergeant Carl Lidgley said: ‘People leave their bags and pockets open and it’s a golden opportunity for thieves to steal from them. People need to make sure their bags and pockets are secure and their valuables are somewhere where they can feel them if someone does try to steal them.’
Karen added, ‘The DVD is on our website: www.dpac.org.uk and YouTube. Kent Police are helping to get the message out with a local media and press campaign and it will be on their website and twitter account. Dover community safety unit is putting it on their website and Port of Dover police will show the DVD on all their screens in the shopping centre at the docks. The shopping centre in Dover has also agreed to show it to the public. If anyone would like a copy of the DVD, then please contact me.’
The project was funded by an Awards-for-All lottery grant and Kent police and crime commissioner.