Diwali is a time of celebration among the Hindu and Sikh communities. We all get embroiled in the infectious celebratory atmosphere with friends and family, but with so many distractions we also need to remain vigilant and stay safe.
WhileÂ the majority celebrate there will, unfortunately, be a small minority who will see Diwali as an opportunity to exploit people.Â Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with enjoying the carnival atmosphere but taking some simple precautions can ensure you and your family celebrate safely.
Burglaries go up over the festive period.Â Houses are often left unoccupied as families get together and attend celebratory events, such as those on Leicesterâ€™sÂ â€˜Golden Mileâ€™.
Donâ€™t make it easy for burglars:Â when you go out lock your doors and windows, even if youâ€™re only going out for a short time. If you have a burglar alarm, donâ€™t forget to arm it. Think about leaving a light on or fit a timer light to come on and give the impression someone is in the house. If you are staying home keep an eye on your neighbourâ€™s property and report anything suspicious (you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously).
Where I live I see lots of families going out and about during Diwali.Â Melton Road in Leicester tends to be a focus for families and it getsÂ busy, particularly during theÂ Diwali lights â€˜switch onâ€™ and on Diwali Day.
Large crowds are also an ideal opportunity for pick pockets and thieves. Keep wallets in an inside pocket to the front â€“Â never in a back pocket. Place purses or valuables in a zipped compartment in your bag. Always keep your bag closed and close to you. Be discreet with your valuables, jewellery, money and mobile phone:Â make sure they are not on show.
Working for a Crimestoppersâ€™ committee Iâ€™m particularly interested in preventing crimeÂ but I also work with our wider local community, including the fire service:Â they want you to have a safe DiwaliÂ too!Â With increased celebratory food preparation Diwali sees a spike in accidents involving hot cooking oil. Never fill more than one third of your cooking pan with oil and if it starts to smoke, turn off the heat and leave it to cool. Never leave your cooking pans unattended with the heat switched on.
The festival of lights takes its name from the lighting of â€˜divasâ€™ (lights).Â Divas are normally naked flames, lit for long periods and often left in windows. The dangers are obvious,Â particularly if the flames are near curtains. Candles or divas should never be left unattended and never near to flammable materials.
Diwali isÂ a time of fun and festivity. Taking a few sensible precautions can help ensure it is memorable for all the right reasons. Have a happy and safe Diwali.
Image courtesy of Pukaar News