While Wychavon is a safe place to live, work and visit, crime does still occur and so here are a few tips that may help to keep you and your property safe.
Keeping your home safe
- Your garden should be your first line of defence against burglars. One of the best ways to keep thieves out of your back garden is to use natures own defence mechanisms. A barrier of prickly hedge may be all the protection you need around your property. You can ask for advice at your local garden centre
- Keep hedges and fences low at the front of the house so an intruder has nowhere to hide
Many burglars gain entry without force through an open door or window. Fitting strong mortise locks to front and back doors and downstairs windows will reduce your risk of being burgled and never leave your property unlocked when you are out even if you are only away for a short while
- Keep house and car keys away from doors and windows
- Get timer switches that turn on lights and radios when the house is empty
- Install external sensors so that they are switched on when somebody moves
- Do not let strangers into the house
Mark theft prone possessions using either permanent ink or an engraver. Only use an ultra violet pen when other methods would reduce the value of the item. Always take photographs of valuable items such as jewellery
When away from home ask a neighbour to collect your post.
Distraction burglary: Knock Knock – Who's There?
Distraction burglary is an unpleasant crime. For the victims, often the older and most vulnerable in our communities, it can be very distressing.
Distraction burglaries involve criminals posing as genuine callers – they often claim to be from "the water board" – to gain entry into a person's home. Once inside, one of the callers distracts the homeowner, while another searches for money and valuable items to steal. The Community Safety Partnership working with West Mercia Police is determined to crack down on the people committing these offences. To help combat distraction burglary, the force operates the Knock Knock campaign. This aims to provide simple advice to householders and encourages neighbours to look out for each other to make life difficult for doorstep criminals.
- DO NOT open the door if you are not expecting or do not recognise the person.
- If you need to open the door, ALWAYS use a door chain or bar
- CAREFULLY check the caller's identity
- If in doubt, keep them out!
- Ensure that entrances to the rear of the house are secure before you open the door to an unexpected visitor; side gates bolted and back doors locked
- Use a door bolt or chain
- Don't keep large amounts of money in the house
- Don't trust ID cards…they are easy to forge with today's technology
- Ask to join your gas/electricity/water suppliers PASSWORD SCHEME
Bogus traders will carry out work on your house far exceeding the real costs of what has been done
- Never accept the offer of work at the doorstep
- Get other quotes to compare
- Use the Trading Standards Trade List to make sure your tradesperson is reputable
Distraction Burglars and Rogue Traders keep away from communities who support each other
- Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours
- Help them keep their houses and gardens maintained
- Set up a buddy scheme so a vulnerable neighbour can direct the unexpected caller to your house for verification
- Join Neighbourhood Watch
- Report all suspicious circumstances… you might provide the missing link the police need to solve a crime
And please encourage others to report an incident as quickly as possible, however embarrassed or scared they might feel.
For more information about distraction burglary and the Knock Knock campaign, visit www.westmercia.police.uk/
Your sheds and outbuildings
- Shed doors are often easy to break into so strengthen the door and frame if you can. Secure outside door hinges with coach bolts or non-return screws. Use strong pad bars or close shackle padlocks
- Make everything secure in your shed so even if someone breaks in, they won't be able to walk away with your valuables. Chain cycles, mowers ladders and tools to a strong anchor point and use a close shackle padlock
- Remember though that sheds are not designed for safe storage so keep a strong lockable box or cage inside the shed or better still store valuable items in a more secure place
- Secure up and over garage doors by putting padlocks through the inside runners or by fitting padlocks with a hasp and staple on either side of the door. Five lever mortise locks are best for normal solid doors
- Battery operated building or property alarms may act as a deterrent or if you have a house alarm you could have it upgraded to include your shed or garage. If the garage is an integral part of your house make sure the alarm conforms to BS 4737
- When you've made your garden, shed or outbuildings more secure remember to lock items away every time. It only takes a minute for a thief to pick something up and walk away
- Ensure windows, sunroof and boot are all secured and doors locked when leaving your vehicle unattended, no matter how briefly
- Take keys with you when leaving the vehicle unattended
- Remove any valuables and personal belongings from the vehicle
- Remove your sat nav and its cradle and wipe away any sucker marks
- Park in open, well-lit areas or secure car parks
- Fit an alarm or immobiliser
Your personal safety
It is important to be aware of your own personal safety. When on foot:
- Choose the well lit path to walk along, preferably in a busy area where you can be seen. Walk facing the oncoming traffic so a car cannot pull up behind you
- Avoid dark alleyways, even if they are a shortcut
- Be aware of your surroundings; don't get engrossed in texting or listening to your MP3 player
- If you feel threatened in any way make as much noise as you can and get yourself to a brightly lit, busy place