The Good Old Days? - Watch Out!
Crime. One unfortunate side-effect of human society is the desire of some humans to harm others. Societies throughout the ages have devised ways to cope with this, and it probably tells us everything we need to know about today's society that most PIFs concern themselves with crime against property.
Watch Out! - Car Theft (1973)
This was part of the famous 'Watch out! There's a thief about' campaign. A car thief steals someone's car whilst they're at a football match, and we see the car being driven to a garage to be resprayed, all while the owner is telling his friend about the car in the voiceover. The message at the end is to lock all doors, close all windows, and to take the key with you. Nowadays, drivers are far more savvy about car security; in fact, an entire industry has grown up around it. However, the focus for thieves moved to what was inside the car; firstly, car radios, and when they became much harder to steal, satellite navigation units.
Tell the Police (1963)
This encourages people to look out for possible intruders, and to always call the police if they see anything suspicious. Rightly or wrongly, there's a lack of confidence among the population of the UK nowadays that the police will investigate every call they get, and it's interesting that the focus for public campaigns changed soon after this to put the onus on the property owner. It's likely that this was in response to the increase in personal wealth over the 20th century, especially from the 1980s onwards. There was a good reason people could leave their doors open in the old days; they usually didn't have anything worth nicking.
A rather threatening PIF claiming that someone 'watching this programme' (so obviously planned for commercial breaks) would be burgled tonight. It's part of the 'If it opens, lock it' campaign. It seems an unlikely claim for the time, and is even more unlikely now in a multi-channel and home entertainment environment. Still, the advice is sound.
Pick Pockets (1975)
A frankly unforgettable PIF, which opens with the caption "SNATCH OF THE DAY". The first time I saw this, I was incapaciated for around 5 minutes or so whilst I tried to stop laughing. A pickpocket is interviewed whilst he explains the various ways he can steal from the unwary. According to him, the one place he can't snatch is a nudist colony. Quite.
Purse Snatcher (1971)/Guard Your Purse (1973)
A dodgy looking sort in Safeway nicks some poor woman's purse, and a gossiping old woman realises too late that someone's come along and swiped hers as well. As the PIF says; look after your purse - before someone else does.
Bicycle Thefts (1974)/A Thief Would Like Your Bike (70s)
Lots of comic performances here, as people report the theft of their bike but can't describe it, didn't lock it to something, left valuables in the saddlebag and don't know the frame number. It's all topped off by a constable coming into the station and saying "You're not going to believe this, Sarge, but somebody's nicked me bike!". In the second PIF, Derek Griffiths larks about whilst warning us that we ought to take precautions against our bike being nicked.
Again, a whole industry has grown up around bike security, but the thefts continue unabated.
Where's Your Lad? (1980)/Fireworks - Where's Your Lad Tonight? (1976)
A stark warning to parents; if you don't know where your teenage son (or daughter) is at night, chances are that they're up to no good. A warning that's still relevant today. The same message is in the second PIF, emphasised for the period around Bonfire Night, when fireworks are easier to get hold of.
A group of residents angrily clear up their street after some vandals have been at it. They talk about how they feel powerless to stop it, and the voiceover explains that there is something you can do - call the police. However, the competing demands on the police service nowadays means that they can't often catch the vandals in the act.
The little toerags, eh? The message is still the same today; if you've got stuff, protect it, because someone else wants it.