Semilong Neighbourhood Watch
Crime Prevention Advice
Police Crime Prevention Advice
Not all burglars break into homes - some will try to trick or con their way in. They are known as bogus callers and will pretend to be on official business from respectable concerns such as the Utility Companies - Gas, Electricity and Water - or the Council. They may claim to be tradesmen or workmen calling to carry out urgent repairs.
Bogus callers succeed because they sound believable, so don't be fooled. Make sure in your own mind that they are whom they claim to be by following these simple steps:
- Think before you open the door - use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them.
- Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry an identification card with their photograph on. Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone the company the caller claims to represent.
- The Utilities now offer a password identification system. Any caller from one of these companies should be able to give a pre-arranged password as additional proof of identity.
- Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere which may encourage you to leave your house - they may have an accomplice awaiting this distraction.
- If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don't let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return or ask the caller to contact this person.
Treat every stranger with caution. If you are still worried, dial 999 immediately and ask for the police.
All crime prevention advice is based on the deterrent and delaying value of the various security devices which can be installed. Locks on doors and windows certainly provide the main thrust of the advice, but in themselves they are only part of a complete security package.
All single-glazed areas on both the ground floor and other accessible areas can be vulnerable to attack. After all, plain glass is easily breakable. Consider replacing ordinary or toughened glass with laminated glass, two pieces of glass bonded together with a sheet of laminate. This is far more difficult to break through as it will not shatter and will therefore delay any attempt at forced entry, a valuable deterrent.
Alternatively, you can place a plastic glazing film over the glazed area to prevent the glass from shattering, though the clarity of the glass will be reduced.
When replacing glass in wooden windows use a glazing mastic to bond it to the frame, as it is far tougher than putty.
Leaded windows are particularly susceptible in that they offer little resistance to attack. Lead is a soft material with poor tensile strength. To protect them you can install secondary glazing, or, alternatively, fit metal grilles or bars. Such measures can detract from the overall look of your windows, but it is important to be aware of their vulnerability.
- Think ahead and plan your journey, avoiding deserted areas.
- Try to avoid walking alone at night, and keep to well-lit main roads where possible. You should try to avoid short cuts like alleyways, waste ground and wooded, bushy areas.
- Stay alert: be aware of what's going on around you.
- It is always worth letting someone know where you are going, the route you intend to take and when you expect to return.
- Consider investing in a mobile phone. There are various services available for light users. (see also Mobile Phone safety)
- Try to avoid wearing headphones - your ability to hear traffic, strangers or potential trouble is severly restricted.
In an emergency dial 999
As many as 10,000 mobile phones are stolen every month. Two thirds of the victims are aged between 13 and 16. Many phones are also stolen from unattended cars. Here are some practical measures you can take to keep your mobile phone safe.
- to register your mobile phone at www.immobilise.com
- keep your phone out of sight in your pocket or handbag when not in use
- use your phone's security lock code, if it has one
- record details of your electronic serial number (ESN) and consider separate insurance
- some phones have an IMEI number which is a unique identifier for the phone; you can obtain this number by typing *#06# (star hash 06 hash) into your mobile phone and it will display a 15 digit number
- property mark your phone with your postcode and door number to help police identify stolen ones
- report a lost or stolen phone to the police immediately
- inform your service provider if your phone is stolen or lost
- attract attention to your phone when you are carrying or using it in the street
- park in isolated or dark areas
- leave your phone in an unattended car - if you must, lock it out of sight. It only takes seconds for a thief to smash a window and steal your phone.
By taking these simple precautions, you can protect your phone.
If you see anything suspicious, call the police - dial 999
.CCTV can sometimes be used in court as evidence to prove someone was in a certain place or that they committed an offence.
CCTV can also help to improve community safety and prevent crime, by putting someone off committing a crime like robbery if they know their actions are being recorded.
Cameras can be installed inside and outside your property.
Neighbourhood Watch Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How long would I have to serve as a member of Neighbourhood Watch?
A. You're under no obligation - serve for as long or as short a time as you wish. If you do decide to leave though, it helps if you can give your street co-ordinator a little notice, so they can fill the gap you will leave.
Q. Does being a member of Neighbourhood Watch mean that I can involve my family?
A. Generally speaking, yes - but do make sure that children don't become too involved, apart from making them aware of when they themselves are at risk. Neighbourhood Watch requires maturity, judgement and an adult sense of responsibility.
Q. Will membership give the impression that I am working for the police?
A. The fact is that you are not. Everything said and written about Neighbourhood Watch shows that you are in effect doing what every responsible citizen should be doing - helping the police and your neighbours to create and maintain a safe, crime-free community.
Q. I have a disability. Will it create problems? Are disabled people really welcome in the scheme?
A. Disabled or handicapped people can often prove to be the most useful members. But if you have doubts, have a word with your Street Co-ordinator.
Q. Am I expected to patrol the streets?
Absolutely not. The police strongly discourage vigilantes and people who seek to take the law into their own hands. Apart from the risk of physical injury, there can be serious legal implications. If, however, you would like to play a more active role, you could always consider applying to join the Northamptonshire Police Special Constabulary. As a Special Constable, you will be able to help the police on a voluntary basis as a fully trained officer in uniform.
In an emergency phone 999
Having a computer stolen has a cost - and not just the money you spent buying it or the money to replace it. There's the inconvenience to you, your staff and your company, the loss of records, the possible loss of business.
There are some simple things you can do now to protect your computer equipment and your business. You can:
Conduct regular property and equipment audits, record missing items.
Allocate responsibility for equipment to individuals.
Establish measures to control use and movement of equipment.
Mark your equipment - Brand the exterior shell of equipment and mark exterior and interior where safe and possible with postal codes.
Consider the use of passive electronic marking devices.
Record details of equipment serial numbers/identification marks. Details need to be readily available in the event of theft.
Anchor equipment to solid furniture, floors or nearby walls using appropriate means.
User intruder alarm equipment to monitor building or room entry.
Use product alarms to monitor movement of individual computer equipment.
Consider tagging equipment using electrical article surveillance methods.
Store computer equipment within secure rooms/cabinets when buildings or departments are unoccupied.
Use CCTV and audio recording equipment to monitor buildings and areas where computers are in use.
Introduce appropriate access control for the building and for serving areas where computers are used.
Ensure mobile and laptop computers are properly secured when used away from the office.
Review existing security precautions, regularly.
If you need more advice then contact your local Crime Prevention Officer who will be pleased to help.
- Remain calm and don’t engage with the caller. Many malicious callers are motivated by getting an emotional response from you, and walking away from the phone for a few moments before replacing the handset can be more of a deterrent than simply slamming the phone down or retaliating verbally.
- Don’t disclose any personal information. This may seem like an obvious point, but many people answer their phone by stating their telephone number, or worse, their name. If the caller has dialled your number at random they are more likely to remember it and call you again if you reinforce their memory in this way. Answer the phone with a simple ‘hello’ or wait for the caller to speak first.
- Keep any answer phone messages short and to the point: never leave a message informing people that you are away from home, for example, but simply state that you are unable to take the call at present. A male voice message may be more of a deterrent than a female voice, and women should consider changing their phone book listing if this gives any indication of their sex or marital status. You may find your answering machine a useful tool for screening your calls.
Blocking or screening your calls
The following BT services may help you:
- Caller Display - see the number that's calling you before you answer
- Choose to Refuse - block particular numbers from getting through to you
- Anonymous Call Reject - block incoming calls from withheld numbers
- BT Privacy at Home - a free service that includes Caller Display and registration with the Telephone Preference Service
- You may also wish to make your telephone number ex-directory
Reporting persistent calls
If you are receiving persistent nuisance calls, please contact police on 101. However, if you are receiving abusive, threatening or obscene calls, malicious or otherwise distressing to you, then you should report them to the police.