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SEASONAL CRIME - WARNINGS

Originating from Neighbourhood Watch Communities in the Stafford District 

These days, with crime being so prevalent, it is really a case of being forewarned and thereby forearmed and, it is with this in mind, that members of the Neighbourhood Watch Communities in the Stafford District have suggested publication on Hints and Things.

 

TIPS FROM COORDINATORS April 2010

Bicycles

Bicycle thefts often increase in spring.

At home, keep your bike secure and locked at all times 

When out, always lock your bike, even if you are only leaving it for a few minutes. Avoid parking your bike in isolated or dimly-lit places where a thief is less likely to be seen.

Get a good bike lock. Hardened steel D shaped locks are recommended as the minimum standard. A local bike shop can advise, or go to www.soldsecure.com 

When you leave your bike, lock it to an immovable object: Use a bike rack if you can or lock it to a lamp post or sturdy railings.

Secure the removable parts of your bike such as wheels and take smaller parts such as quick-release saddles and lights with you.

Consider having your bike security marked to make it easily identifiable.

Garden ornaments and Furniture

The theft of garden ornaments, furniture and planters is another Spring/Summer trend. 

Consider the security of your property and remember that valuable planters and ornaments are safer in the back garden where passers by can’t see them.

Secure garden furniture using an anchoring device to make it harder to move. 

These can also be used to protect expensive planters and ornamental trees.

Use brackets to protect hanging baskets. 

Consider security marking your valuables. If they would be difficult to mark, take a photograph of them to help with identification if the worst happens and they are stolen.

 

Unlocked Doors and Windows

In over 25% of all house burglaries, the criminal doesn’t break in – they climb in through an insecure window or walk in through an unlocked door. 

As the warmer weather arrives, it’s easy to forget how important it is to keep out homes secure to protect them from opportunist criminals.

Even a small window can attract an opportunist burglar. They may be agile enough to climb through, or may just reach through to open a larger window to gain entry.

Keep doors and windows secure and locked not just when you go out, but in any unoccupied rooms when you are at home or in the garden, and watch out for any strangers approaching the rear of your neighbour’s property – rear doors and windows are often out of sight and give a criminal more time to break in. 

Unlocked rear doors attract opportunist thieves who only take seconds to grab the valuables such as handbags, mobile phones and keys left near to the door.

Always tell the police immediately if you see anything suspicious.

 

Scrap Dealers and other companies 

Check out scrap dealers and other companies in your area The Environment Agency has a register of the businesses licensed to operate in your area. 

Searches can be made on a company name, license/permit number, by postcode, or town to check that anyone operating locally is licensed. 

The register includes scrap merchants and covers business licensed for the following:

  • Agricultural Waste Exemptions 

  • Agricultural Waste Exemptions for Local Authorities in England and Wales 

  • Agricultural Waste Exemptions for Natural England 

  • Hazardous Waste, Waste Carriers, Waste Brokers 

  • Water Quality and Pollution Control 

  • Environmental Permits (previously Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC)) 

  • Environmental Permits (previously Integrated Pollution Control (IPC)

  • Radioactive Substances Information 

  • Environmental Permits (Waste Management Licensing) 

The Public Register information is available online at:
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/publicregisters/default.aspx

Nigel, Stafford

Keep it Locked!

In the 6 months between 1st July – 31st December 2010, there were 201 thefts of property left unattended insecure vehicles in Stafford Borough, Cannock Chase and South Staffs. These crimes may have been prevented if property had been removed and the vehicles had been locked. Favourites for the thief are Satellite Navigation Systems, Lap-top computers, tools and mobile phones. During the same 6 months there were 73 sneak-in burglaries where doors or windows had been left insecure. Spread the word – if your vehicle or home is left insecure, insurance companies are unlikely to settle a claim.

Despite the avoidable opportunist incidents, overall crime in Staffordshire dropped by 9% in the 12 months to September 2010.

February is SCAM awareness Month

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) annual Scam Awareness Month aims to help people to recognise scams and reduce the number of scam victims.

Scams are schemes to con you out of money. They can be a telephone call, letter or e-mail. Every year around three million people fall victim to scams, losing an average of 850 each. Scammers can be very persuasive and often use tactics that make it hard to say no.

New versions of scams are being invented by conmen every day.

Warning signs:

You are contacted out of the blue

You have to make a quick decision – Scammers don‟t like to give you time to think. They may say things like "If you don‟t act now, you‟ll miss out".

You are asked to give your bank details.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: Beware of extravagant promises

Scammers are smart – prove that you’re smarter

Don‟t reply, bin scam letters, delete e-mails, hang up on scam phone calls

More information on scams and how to report them can be found on the
Citizens Advice Bureau's Advice Guide website

Stay safe and beat the bogus caller

Staffordshire Police is regularly reminding homeowners, and particularly the more vulnerable and elderly members of the community to beat the bogus caller and remember the „Stop Chain Check‟ system.

Spring makes people think about gardening and decorating and sometimes individuals posing as reputable tradespeople can approach homeowners, offering to do work in the home or garden for them. They‟ll do the job badly and can use pressure to try to get people to pay. Some also pose as officials from such agencies as gas, electric and water to gain entry to a house where they‟ll try and distract the resident to steal easy to carry valuables such as cash and jewellery.

Don‟t be duped by a doorstep criminal. Don‟t open the door to strangers and never agree to buy or sell goods on the doorstep.

Please encourage your neighbours to be wary of strangers on the doorstep and remind them not to let anyone in unless they have a pre-arranged appointment and even then, not until their identity has been carefully checked.

Sheds and Garages

After winter, the tools and equipment in sheds and garages are more attractive to thieves who find them easier to sell as the weather improves. Please NEVER leave your sheds or garages unlocked.

Mark your property with your post-code and house number – visible markings where possible, fit strong padlocks to doors and check that the fabric of the building is strong and sound. Consider fitting a shed alarm – they‟re cheap and easy to install.

Metal thefts

The value of scrap metal, especially copper and lead, remains high and metal property is attracting attention from opportunist thieves. Wheelie bins are increasingly being used to transport stolen metal.

Remove easy access onto flat roofs such as garden furniture and bins.

Prune back shrubs that could be used as a climbing aid, consider the security of metal statues, urns or other metal garden ornaments and mark them with your post code and house number.

Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

To pass specific information about crime or criminals, anonymously, without direct contact with the police.

 

Further information about Staffordshire Neighbourhood Watch can be obtained by telephoning Staffordshire Police on 0300-123-44-55 or by visiting the OWL web-site at www.owl.co.uk
 

 

HOAXES

 SCAM AND CONS - WARNINGS.

CRAFTY CONS

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