Thefts usually fall into three categories, Targeted Thefts, Opportunist Thefts, and Distraction Thefts
These are thieves who travel about the area looking for homes or vehicles that provide opportunities for them to commit theft at another time. For example, houses with no intruder alarm fitted, or which are to be vacant whilst the owner is away on holiday, or vehicles with high value items left on display.
These are opportunist thieves who are looking for doors and windows lying ajar to quickly gain access to your home or vehicle and steal anything of value they can pick up such as wallets, handbags, jewellery and cash. These thieves will take every opportunity you give them to take advantage of your security weaknesses whether it is day or night.
Distraction thefts often involve thieves posing as genuine tradesmen calling at houses during the day looking for business. These bogus workers often claim to represent utility companies or be even from the local council. Their primary aim is to gain access to your home and distract you while they take the opportunity to steal when you are not looking.
Furthermore at this time of year many people take advantage of the better weather and longer days and turn their attention to gardening and routine maintenance of their homes. Bogus workers may approach your home and offer to do work in the garden such as cutting down bushes and lopping trees. Quite often they may claim a part of your house requires immediate repair for example, loose tiles, broken guttering, rotten fascia boards and may intimidate the owner into parting with cash to have the work carried out. Sadly the householder is left out of pocket for a job which is often sub standard and more likely not even completed at all.
So please remember the following:
Keep vulnerable doors and windows locked even when you are in the house. If others, such as relatives need access make sure they have their own keys. For ventilation, ensure that windows have restrictors fitted to prevent them being opened from the outside. Keep your garage doors and garden sheds closed and locked when not in use. If someone unexpected comes to your door, think STOP, CHAIN, CHECK
STOP Are you expecting anybody, do they have an appointment?
CHAIN Use a door chain before opening the door.
CHECK Ask for identification and double check it. Most utility companies will have a telephone number in the phone book for you to check on their employees who call.
Use your common sense. If you really need a plumber, roofer or gardener would you normally wait about the house for one to call you? NO. If you are not sure which tradesman to use, Tayside Police in partnership with Trading Standards operate a BETTER BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP which contain a list of approved tradesmen tradesmen. If you would like to use an approved tradesperson simply contact them on 01738 476476.
Keep an eye out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours and take the opportunity of introducing yourself so they know who you are. This will help them especially if a criminal pretends to be their neighbour to try to gain access to their home. Sometimes it is difficult for someone who has memory problems but ask them if they have had any new callers at the door. If you are a relative ensure that there is no property missing when you visit, if you suspect bogus callers have been visiting inform the Police immediately. If you see strangers visiting a neighbour make a point of finding out who they are. It’s not about being nosey; it is about caring for others. The ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme is a great way of protecting the elderly and vulnerable from criminals – for more information contact your local Community Officer, Euan Mitchell.
Another problem we have experienced in recent years, particularly in the more rural areas, is caused by people fly-tipping large quantities of garden refuse and other rubbish at the roadside. We would ask you to report any such behaviour and where possible obtain the makes and registration numbers of the vehicles involved.
The Mobile Community Office will be available in Abernethy on the following dates:
Thursday 16th June 0900-1200
Sunday 17th July 1000-1500
Tuesday 16th August 0900-1200
As previously mentioned this is part of a trial period to determine demand for the service. This has been extended to cover the rest of this year (partly due to my oversight in not including the March to May dates in the previous issue!!) Feel free to pop in to discuss any issues you may have and thanks to those that have already used the service. If anyone has any thoughts on which days or times would be best to maximise the use of the service please feel free to contact Euan.
Euan can be contacted at Bridge of Earn Police Office, by telephone on 0300 111 2222 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 to provide information relating to criminal activity of any sort.