December's Newsletter from Brentford's Lead Neighbourhood Watch

Watch out there's a thief about!

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Kathy Riley 075 0630 9810 or 020 8247 5939 is Brentford’s Neighbourhood Community Safety Co-ordinator

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Unfortunately the Festive Season is a time when criminals think up various ways to either steal from or cheat/scam members of the pubic. Below are just a few.

Thefts from Restaurants, Bars, Pubs, Shops, Coffee Shops
Criminals working inside restaurants pubs and bars will target a jacket or a handbag hung on the back of a chair, or mobile phones placed on tables. They will also look to steal handbags and lap tops left on the floor by your feet while you enjoy a seasonal drink or meal with friends.

Banks, Post Offices, Cash Machines
When visiting banks, post offices and cash machines to withdraw monies for seasonal spending, please make sure you are not being watched and targeted. Never carry cash and credit cards all in the one place like a purse or a wallet. Place your cash/credit cards around your person so as not to make it easy for thieves.

Pickpockets, Bag Snatchers & Distraction Robberies
Pickpockets and bag snatchers working alone or in teams operate in crowded places. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in busy places like shops and/or queuing for, or traveling on, crowded buses or trains.

Unsolicited Callers
Bogus Christmas Charities, Bogus Energy Callers
Beware of any cold caller who may visit your home asking for a donation to an unknown and possibly bogus Christmas Charity. Please try to ensure before donating money to charity that your money is going to a legitimate cause and not into the pockets of a criminal organization.

Christmas Wreaths (Attached to Front Doors)
To try and avoid your Christmas Wreath ‘disappearing’ overnight, please attach it securely to your front door.

E-mail and Internet Crime
Beware of unsolicited e-mails and scam web sites offering expensive goods at unbelievable prices. What may seem a terrific bargain could be a criminal’s way of obtaining your credit/debit card details?

Street Vendors
Beware of anyone approaching you in the street and/or anyone who sets up an illegal street pitch claiming that they are selling top quality electronic goods, after shave/perfumes or similar at remarkable knocked down prices. And don’t be taken in by anyone seen happily purchasing these items as they are part of the scam. Should you be taken in, you would either be purchasing poorly made imitations, or a neatly wrapped box of totally worthless items. And you can be certain that should you return to complain about your purchase, the traders would be long gone.

Distraction Thefts
Watch out for people edging their way close to you, or who bump into you ‘accidently’. Normally working in teams and sometimes using young children as cover, distraction thieves will target their victim when they see that a hand bag, purse, wallet, or mobile phone has been conveniently placed near the top of a shopping trolley/basket. An accidental knock followed by what appears to be a genuine apology causes momentary confusion. The thieves would have disappeared before the victim realizes that they have been robbed.

Please ensure that all windows and doors are closed and secured if you are going out for the evening or coming home late at night. Leave a light on when the house is going to be empty during the evening/night. If you are going away for the Festive Period, purchase timer switches that turn lights on and off at set intervals during the evening. Do not leave gifts inside the home on view to people walking past, and after Christmas do not advertise what could be found inside your home by leaving attractive cardboard packaging on full view in green recycling bins. After the festive season, gift packaging should be turned inside out before placing in green recycling bins, or taken as soon as possible to the local cardboard recycling centre.

Home and Vehicle Crime
To avoid fishing burglaries where burglars use long rods pushed through letter boxes to reach inside homes, do not leave car or house keys overnight on furniture conveniently positioned close to front doors. Never leave gifts unattended inside motor vehicles even if they are not on view of passers by. Advise any visitors to your home during the Festive Season not to leave anything of value like a Sat. Nav. in their vehicles.

November 28, 2011