Regrettably a recent spate of thefts and assaults has occurred and the police and accommodation condominiums are recommending that people pay particular attention to their surroundings and who is around them.
Only last week a friend of mine had her purse taken from her rucksack as she walked down the steps at Santa Catarina Park. When interviewed, she said that all she could remember was someone coming down the steps very quickly behind her, a rustle, but she wasn’t sure if that was her hearing aid and that was all. Luckily, the thief only got away with €20, but that is not the point. That said, the police were brilliant when she reported the incident. Unfortunately, a lady in front of her who had had a similar experience was not quite so lucky as she lost her money and her passport. The police have said that there are professional Eastern European pick pockets working in Madeira, the trouble is identifying them, as they change on a regular basis, with the women being less recognisable than the men!
However, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself: –
- Keep your valuables safe, either in your hotel safe or at home.
- Avoid using backpacks, unless its for a change of clothes etc. Keep your money somewhere different and close to you.
- Ladies, place your handbag strap over your head and across your body and ensure that you either hold the bottom or side of your handbag and carry it to the front of your person.
- Men either use a man bag or a body belt for your money. Leaving your wallet in your back pocket is asking for trouble. If you still prefer this method then wrap a couple of thick elastic bands around your wallet, it will make it harder to remove and you will feel it move in your pocket.
- Don’t carry around large sums of money, especially if you are venturing out on the levadas etc. Take enough for bus fares, taxi, food and drink and that’s all.
- Be aware, if you feel that someone is standing too close to you, move away.
- Look out for each other.
- My favourite…. place a mousetrap in your bag (just remember to put your money in another place). This way the police will be able to identify the perpetrators by their broken fingers! – only half joking!
For those living here in Madeira, condominiums have reiterated that everyone should: –
- Pay special attention to people or strange cars in garages, and wait for the garage door to close before driving into your space, this way you can see if anyone has tried to sneak in.
- Ensure that all security doors are closed properly.
- Do not open the door to strangers.
- Should anything untoward happen, contact the police immediately on 112 and try to remember as many details as possible.
PLEASE NOTE: There has been a sudden upsurge in the number of thefts, with four alone today being reported. Please, Please, Please be vigilant.