The golden rule: don't take anything you can't afford to lose
Festivals aren't unsafe and it's unlikely that you'll be a victim of crime, but it's always better safe than sorry.
Never leave anything valuable in your car, and try not to leave anything visible at all (even the tiniest item can be enough to encourage a thief). It is also recommended that you empty your glove compartment and leave it open. Double-check all doors are locked, windows closed, lights are off etc. Don't forget where you parked, the car parks can be huge!
The only way to ensure that you don't lose something that is precious to you is not to take it in the first place! Like any big gathering, festivals will attract an element of people who are going to commit crime - there is no avoiding it.
In recent years, the majority of theft from tents has tended to happen on the first night, when people are asleep in their tents. The first night is most popular because that's when people have the most money with them. Hide your money WELL.
There are ways to lessen the chances of theft and it's effects:
- camp as far from the central area as possible - the more central camping areas tend to have the most theft. But do camp near other people.
- make friends with your neighbours. If everyone looks out for each other, your stuff will be safer.
- don't tell people if you're camping alone.
- don't leave anything valuable in your tent. If you bring anything that really is that valuable, use lockers or cloakrooms if available.
- If the campsite is big and busy,.make your tent easily identifiable in the crowd (flag poles etc - this will help you find it).
- a padlock on a tent can be a bad idea. It's like putting a big sign up saying "there's something worth stealing here", and so to get at it they slash your tent! The best idea is to take nothing that you want to risk losing, so that if the unthinkable happens, and your whole tent gets stolen (which does sometimes happen, very occasionally) then you just shrug your shoulders and get on with having a good time (why worry about something you can't change?). If you do have to take valuable items, use the security lockers/cloakrooms if available.
- hide your money in several safe (not obvious, under your pillow is obvious!) places when you go to sleep - then if you are stolen from, hopefully not all your money will be lost.
- if you wake to discover a stranger in your tent, quickly assess the situation. You may wish to pretend to be asleep and they may leave or you may call out for help. Do not tackle any thief directly - they are only possessions which can be replaced.
Crime does happen at festivals, but sensible precautions will lessen the chances of you falling victim, and will lessen the effects if the worst does happen.
If you lose something, not only is it worth reporting to the police, but it is worth checking at Lost Property/Information - at the major festivals a huge amount of lost property is handed in every year. You might be pleasantly surprised how many people are honest.
If the worst does happen you'll be most likely to get your stuff back if it is post-coded and labelled. Some festival police hand out tent packs which you should look out for.
If you see crime take place or people acting suspiciously, report it to the campsite stewards/security/police who are patrolling - they are there for your benefit.
For more information about keeping safe at festivals please see festivalsafe.com
HAVE A SAFE ONE!
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