REPORTS FROM THE RECORDER & ADVERTISING RATES
PLANNING ADVICE ON
USEFUL LOCAL INFORMATION & LINKS
(Things to do, join and help with)
AND ITS COMMON
For Car/Vehicle Protection and Advice, click here
Recent burglaries in the area have been at the rear of properties. Beware!
Mark or etch your property with your postcode, house or flat number or the first three letters of your house name.
Register items with a serial number at www.immobilise.com
Do not leave your car keys, valuables or ID documents near a door, letterbox or window.
Always check who's at the door and don't open it if you feel anxious.
Close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
Keep your valuables out of sight.
Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home. Use an automatic time switch on an indoor light, either in a room that cannot be peered into from the road, or upstairs. Consider drawing the curtains if you are in a room with the lights switched on. Regularly change the timing on the switch.
Fit security lighting, either dusk to dawn energy efficient lighting that will come on automatically as dusk sets in, or a passive infra-
Fit a 5 lever mortice lock to your front door and other external doors. Consider installing a burglar alarm.
Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked.
Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away for days or weeks at a time. Ask a neighbour to periodically check and keep an “eye” on your property.
Put a time switch on a radio that has been tuned to a chat station, this will give the impression that the house is occupied. Again, regularly change the timing on the switch.
Property mark your valuables with your postcode and house number. Some articles are unsuitable for marking so photograph them -
Secure windows, paying particular attention to those on the ground floor and above flat roof areas. Always use locks and bolts and keep all your keys, including car keys, out of sight and out of reach. Ground floor windows should have key operated locks unless used as a fire escape. Ensure that patio doors have at least three locking points fitted.
Ensure that gates or access to the rear of the house are locked and all fences are secure. Don’t forget to lock your shed; your tools can be used to break in. Trim overgrown plants -
Intruder alarms are an effective deterrent against burglars. Before choosing a system ensure it is the one most suitable for your needs.
For further advice visit the following websites: www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention
Trust your instincts. Always call 999 if you see anybody acting suspiciously in your area, giving their description and/or vehicle registration number to the operator.
If you require any further advice contact the Crime Prevention Office on 020 8649 1414 or visit our website; www.met.police.uk/croydon
UPVC Doors – A Warning
Burglaries continue to occur where uPVC doors have not been secured properly. Many types of uPVC doors are a popular front door for homes as they offer good protection against break-
Whilst this is the best method of protection, you should also ensure you are able to exit as quickly as possible. Therefore, advice is that you keep house keys upstairs or store them near the door, but out of sight, for easy access in an emergency. By adding this simple step to your lockup routine, it is possible to dramatically reduce your chance of becoming a victim of burglary”.
Marking your property is a quick and effective way of protecting your property. It will make it less attractive to thieves to steal it in the first place as they know that marked property can be easily identified by the police.
In addition, the traceable property may be more difficult for them to 'cash in' with another criminal or to a willing purchaser of the item. Of course it also greatly enhances the chances of you being re-
If you have a Mobile Phone stolen or lose it, the police will be checking the Immobilise website if they find it in the possession of a criminal or left in the location of the theft to identify it. It is a free service and takes a few minutes on line to register your phones details at the Immobilise website.
Similarly if you have a bicycle you should register your frame number at the bikeregister.com website. Bike Register is the free to use Metropolitan Police approved bicycle registration service. Warning stickers and other security marking products are available from the company at a discount using the promotional code "MPSbikeregister10".
Police offered marking products
The Association of Chief Police Officers recommends via its 'Secured by Design' scheme Property Marking Products and companies that satisfy their criteria. Kit’s cost in the range of 15 pounds, which includes warning labels to, would be thieves, an important aspect. View the 'Secured by Design' website to see available kit options.
UV pen marking
UV pen marking still has a role to play in Crime Prevention however, only after the above methods have been considered.
The principle here is that you mark your postcode followed by the house number or name on property with an UV pen that is invisible to the naked eye. Again you display stickers usually supplied with the pen to illustrate that you have done this. Police have access to UV lights that show up postcodes etc when shone on your UV mark of your postcode. Pens cost a pound or so hence their popularity however we are moving towards contemporary methods as above in order to reprofile the Crime Prevention benefit of Property Marking.
Taking photographs of property, as detailed as possible, is recommended for reconciliation/prosecution of offender purposes, particularly if it is not property marked.
POLICE CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE: GARDEN SHEDS
Garden sheds are a very popular target with burglars and are often overlooked when security is being considered. The value of the contents, such as garden mowers, strimmers and cycles can often add up to many hundreds of pounds. It is therefore wise to secure the shed door with at least one heavy duty hasp and closed-
It may not always be appropriate to fit a heavy duty padlock, hasp and staple as the shed door and frame may not be strong enough to support them. There are a range of smaller but sturdy padlocks, padbolts, hasps and staples which would be suitable. Whether fitting heavy duty devices or otherwise, always use coach-
All opening windows within the shed will require good window locks.
In addition to fitting external physical security to your shed, it is worth considering the installation of an alarm. This does not mean a complete burglar alarm system, though, if your house already has such an installation, it may be possible for it to be extended to the shed. There are various stand-
The major problem with vulnerable garden sheds is that they provide burglars with an arsenal of house breaking implements, e.g. the versatile garden spade: because of the blade size and the leverage that can be exerted, few door or window locks can withstand a prolonged attack from this implement. If the shed is too fragile to secure adequately, the spade should either be bolted or padlocked to a heavy bench or frame, or, better still, kept in a more secure place such as a locked garage. Alternatively, your tools can be secured by chaining them together.
Consider the use of a strong lockable box or cage within the shed in which you can store not only your garden tools but also insecticides, weed killers or other items which may be harmful to health or plants if improperly used.
BURGLARS USING FRONT DOOR STICKERS TO IDENTIFY EASY TARGETS
There are growing concerns that burglars are using accomplices to identify vulnerable properties in the borough and then marking them out with discreet plastic stickers. The scouts are fixing the small, virtually transparent stickers to people's front doors. They are so discreet that residents may not even notice they are there -
Police are already linking these stickers to at least one burglary in Wandsworth. The stickers are printed with the words "24 hour locksmith" and a telephone number. However the number does not exist and does not appear to have ever been issued by a telecoms company.
Detectives believe the scout is sent to an area to look for homes that may be easier to burgle. The belief is that he or she calls at addresses to see if people are at home during the day. This also gives them the chance to get up close to doors and windows and check out how good the locks are. If the scout thinks the home would be easy to break into -
THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF CRIME
Burglars have in the past been scrawling secret symbols in the street to help other criminals know which properties to target. The symbols may indicate that a home is wealthy, has already been burgled or may have nothing worth stealing. They may also indicate if there is a vulnerable female in the home, or if the occupant is nervous, afraid or gullible.
The meaning behind a number of the symbols has been decoded by officers who have put out a reminder in a bid to warn the public.
If you see any such symbols chalked in your street please advise your local Safer Neighbourhood Team so that they are aware.
Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network are urging charities to call a halt to fundraising efforts that rely on doorstep chuggers. The call follows complaints from residents in Putney, London who have had chuggers -
Chuggers normally operate in town centres or outside busy Tube/rail stations and try to persuade passers-
Anyone concerned at the activities of chuggers, or who believes door-
BLOCK NUISANCE/SALES PHONE CALLS AND JUNK MAIL
You can reduce the number of spam/sales calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service by phone on 0845 070 0707 or online at www.tpsonline.org.uk
It takes some four weeks for the registration to be fully effective in reducing sales call from companies in the UK; the service does not stop calls from overseas unfortunately. Any UK company that continues to call you can be reported via the TPS website and if they still continue to call you can report them to the Information Commissioners Office which has the power to prosecute any company that continues to make unwanted calls.
If you get a call asking you to call a premium rate number this will be a bogus scam call, these calls can be reported to the Phone pay Plus website on www.phonepayplus.org.uk
Silent calls come from an automated calling system used by many sales companies where there is no operator available to speak to you after the call has been automatically dialled, these can be reported to Ofcom on www.ofcom.org.uk
If you receive an abusive or threatening call this can be reported to the BT Nuisance Call Advice line on 0800 661 441 you can also report these calls to the Police by dialling 101 and giving as much details as possible so that the Police can attempt to trace the call.
There are also at least two call blocking devices and from personal experience I can say that the TrueCall device is very effective as you can block individual phone numbers, overseas calls and calls with withheld numbers (withheld numbers can be a problem as many large companies, such as the Police/Hospitals do not give out their number when calling. This device is expensive at over £90 on Amazon but it has stopped overseas sales calls which I started to receive at all hours of the day and night. BT has recently introduced several home phones which can block up to 10 numbers but this is not many, with the TrueCall device you can block over 100 and stop the unwanted calls by blocking their number, you only need to press the # key while the call is in progress to stop them phoning again.
BT has a Choose to Refuse free service which can also block up to 10 numbers there is also an Anonymous call rejection service but this requires a monthly payment.
Spammers get your number from lists sold by rogue companies or purely using a random number generator that dials hundreds or numbers using a computer programme.
Registering with the Mailing Preference Service
The Mailing Preference Service supports the right to choose the mail you wish to receive. Registration to this free service can be made on line or by phone to 0845 703 4599 or 0207 291 3310. Registration can also can be obtained from www.mpsonline.org.uk .
SHRED YOUR PAPERS AND PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
Householders are being warned to be especially careful when it comes to disposing of papers containing personal details.
There have been reports, borough-
Croydon police are asking that anybody who sees this happening, or has had it happen to them, report it to their local Safer Neighbourhoods team.
CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE:
1 in 10 home owners are at risk of ID crime by leaving financial information on their doorstep
Royal Mail have conducted one of the largest studies of home movers in the UK which reveals people are putting themselves at risk of ID crime by not redirecting their mail when they move home. Click on link to read more.
TRADING STANDARDS ADVICE: DEALING WITH DOORSTEP COLD CALLERS
You should always be alert when you receive a cold caller at your door. Not all doorstep callers are bogus. Some will be genuine sales people, but watch out for aggressive or misleading sales practices and rogue callers. Rogue traders are criminals who use the appearance of a legitimate business to commit crime and deprive you of your hard earned cash.
Never invite an unknown caller into your home and always use your door chain! Look out for some of the following types of phrases which may be used to try and frighten or entice you into agreeing to have work done on your property:
"You have a loose tile on your roof".
"You need to have some pointing on your chimney".
"You need some work doing on your driveway"
Never say yes on the spot.
Always get a second opinion about the work being suggested, it may not be as urgent as you think. A genuine trader will not pressure you into agreeing to have work done immediately. Do you need to answer the door? – NO! You do not have to answer the door if you do not want to, make use of security measures such as spy holes or door chains.
Check business details. Check traders' names, phone numbers and ask for written details/headed paper. Always get a written quote, ensure this includes full business details, including owner's name and address.
Always get a price and an idea of the length of time the job will take before paying any money. Never pay the full amount up front, always withhold money until the job is completed to a satisfactory standard.
Be wary of generous guarantees – a guarantee is only as good as the business unless it is insurance backed.
YOUR DOORSTEP – YOUR DECISION. Do not feel guilty if you want to say no! Call the Police on 999 if you feel threatened or dial 101 to report an aggressive trader.
COLD CALLING BOGUS SOLICITORS
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reviewed reports submitted to Action Fraud and has seen considerable proportions relating to cold calling bogus solicitors.
Between June and August 2013 the NFIB undertook a review of all Action Fraud reports and found a considerable proportion relating to instances whereby individuals were cold called by fraudsters purporting to be solicitors.
In all the reports analysed the bogus solicitors asked their victims to pay an advance fee for their “services” ranging from inheritance collection to Payment Protection Insurance. The bogus solicitors are not who they say they are and will take your money and disappear.
The fraudsters used these methods:
If you receive a suspicious cold call end it immediately, report it to us and do not give out any money or personal details. Remember; if it seems too good be true, it probably is
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool
POLICE ADVICE ON COLD CALLING ALARM COMPANIES
Information has been received about a company, which targets the elderly and vulnerable members of society with unsolicited telephone calls. The calls may be from someone purporting to be from a Crime Prevention Company and are offering an intruder alarm system. Sometimes there is a suggestion that the company is responding to a recent crime; at other times there is a suggestion they are working with or for the local police service.
In all cases the company will cold call the householder and offer a ‘free’ alarm system. The householders will invariably be elderly. The company employ cold calling by telephone as a method of targeting older and vulnerable people. The caller may claim to offer an intruder system alarm and/or advice on such systems or personal security. They may say they are responding to a crime or an incident. If accepted they then progress to using hard sell tactics to sign people up to monitoring contracts.
The prices quoted for alarm systems vary from free to a small selection of addresses as an advertisement to other properties to £5000/£6000 or more. If the system is offered free of charge, there is an administration fee.
The companies are not registered with any of the Security Industry Regulatory organisations. You are recommended and advised to research any company and if possible get a recommendation from a friend or one of the websites such as checkatrade.com before you arrange a sales visit. Do not accept any offers to visit until you have checked further.
Car Number Plate Theft and Cloning
Number plate theft continues to be a problem in our area (especially from Warren Rd, Purley) and many plates are used for serious criminal activity. The theft resistant number plate is made to stop anyone taking it off your vehicle quickly and reusing it on another vehicle.
The reasons behind number plate theft
The vehicle registration mark on a number plate is the key piece of information that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) use to look up keeper details on a vehicle record. Stolen number plates are used on vehicles, by those who don't want to be found out when they commit such offences as:
not paying congestion charges
driving away from a petrol forecourt without paying
not paying for parking tickets or speeding fines
‘disguising’ a stolen vehicle
Vehicles with stolen number plates have also been used in more serious crimes such as kidnapping and robbery.
What to do if your number plates have been stolen
If your number plates are stolen, DVLA advises you to report the theft to the police. If you receive fines or correspondence after the theft, you should return them immediately to the issuing authority with an explanation and any documentary evidence.
Note: It is an offence to display the wrong vehicle registration mark on a vehicle with a maximum penalty of £1,000.
Theft Resistant Number Plates
You can buy Anti-
The benefits of theft resistant number plates
The DVLA works with number plate manufacturers and others, to develop an agreed standard for theft resistant number plates. The numerous benefits the new plates can offer include:
cutting the number of car owners faced with motoring related fines for something they didn’t do
preventing vehicle cloning (copying the identity of a similar vehicle) and reselling them to unsuspecting motorists
Contact your local car dealer or registered number plate supplier for further information including fitting and cost.
Further information about theft resistant number plates from the DVLA website -
PREVENT YOUR CAR BEING TARGETED BY CRIMINALS
Keep your car keys out of sight at home. Modern technology means it is now much more difficult to steal a car without its keys. This has led to criminals focussing their attention on stealing keys from houses, even breaking into homes primarily to steal car keys. So never leave your car keys near your front door on or display around the home.
Park in a safe place. If you can keep your car in a garage or on a driveway, so much the better. If you park on the street, pick a well-
Don't leave valuables such as mobile phones or sat nav devices on display. And if you have been using a sat nav, do make sure to wipe away the telltale circular mark on your windscreen before leaving your car -
Fit an immobiliser and tracking device -
Keyless entry and starting for your car is convenient and user-
Storing your key in a Faraday bag, lined with layers of metallic material, is the way to foil them and keep your car safe. The key needs to be placed inside the bag from the moment you plip the locks. If large enough, it can also be used for a mobile phone and credit cards to prevent hacking and fraud. So which is the one to keep your keyless car safe? Autoexpress magazine put eight to the test.
Also check with your car/vehicle dealership to see if there is a software update available for your vehicle.
Key Fob Jammers
The RRA have been made aware that a number of Riddlesdown residents have had possessions stolen from their vehicles even though it hasn’t been broken into. The owners are convinced they locked their vehicles with the fob. However, it appears thieves are nearby and are blocking the fob signal with an electronic device so the motorists thinks the vehicle has locked. Always make sure you hear the central locking ‘clunk’ and also check the hazard lights flash when locking the vehicle. If this doesn't happen the signal may be in the process of being blocked.
It has never been easier to buy or sell a vehicle than it is now ... thanks to the internet. The ability to upload and view photos and vehicle descriptions, and contact buyers and sellers -
However, the internet has also made it easier for dishonest buyers and sellers to defraud larger numbers of people, so there are a number of things you need to be aware of before going online to sell a vehicle.
And as with all kinds of online transactions, always observe the following precautions:
If you suspect anything
If you think you have been a victim of vehicle fraud:
Report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visitng www.actionfraud.police.uk
DRIVERS WARNED OVER GROWING 'FLASH FOR CRASH' INSURANCE FRAUD SCHEME
Motorists are falling foul of a new insurance fraud scheme dubbed “flash for crash”. The latest tactic sees cars lying in wait for victims to exit from shops, car parks or fuel stations. Fraudsters flash their headlights, offering the victim a right of way to join a main road, but then speed up to ensure their car is hit side-
The new tactic has been spotted, and given its name, by automotive anti-
APU said approximately 380 false insurance claims are made daily, costing the motor industry £1.7 million a year and pushing up insurance premiums. It added that the Insurance Fraud Bureau is currently investigating 49 rings, responsible for around £66 million in false claims. This is just the latest twist on 'crash for cash' schemes that have been around for many years, causing many problems for both motorists and the insurance industry, according to RAC commercial director Kerry Michael.
"This kind of fraud is manipulative and can be incredibly traumatic for the innocent individuals who get embroiled in claims against them, which are usually for whiplash and personal injury -
BICYCLE SECURITY; POLICE ADVICE
Police are urging bicycle owners to take simple crime prevention measures to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of bicycle theft after a pan-
Bicycle owners are asked to:
• Make it difficult for thieves, it only takes a few seconds to cut poor quality locks, use gold Sold Secure standard locks when securing your bicycle
• Park your bicycle at secure cycle parking, which should be well lit and covered by CCTV -
• When parking you bicycle, take parts that are easy to remove with you, such as saddles and wheels or use secure skewers
• Mark & register your bicycle on BikeRegister -
• Registering your bike helps police and retailers identify and verify the legitimate owner of bikes that have been stolen or are being resold. A visible security marking on your bike deters potential thieves as your bike can be easily traced if it is stolen
• The MPS have selected BikeRegister as the preferred cycle register for London
• Keep a record of the details of your bicycle such as the frame number, BikeRegister number, other distinguishing features, and take a photo
• Don't buy a stolen second-
• If your bicycle is stolen, contact the police, giving them your frame and BikeRegister number, photo and any other deta