December update from Neighbourhood Watch
Crime is known to increase during the festive season. Below are various ways in which
criminals with no sympathy whatsoever, steal, cheat and scam unsuspecting members
of the public out of their property and money.
Whenever leaving the premises unoccupied day or night always ensure that windows
and doors are closed and secured. Leave a light on if the premises are going to be
unoccupied for any length of time. Timer switches are a good investment during the
dark winter months. Ensure sheds are securely locked. Do not leave gifts inside the
home that can be seen from the street and after the Festive Season do not advertise
what could be found inside the home by leaving attractive packaging outside for refuse/
recycling collection. Gift packaging should be turned inside out before placing in green
recycling bins or taken as soon as possible to the nearest recycling centre. Do not
leave house or vehicle keys near letterboxes, back doors or windows.
Thefts from Restaurants, Pubs, Bars, Coffee Shops, Shops and Public Places
Criminals working inside restaurants, pubs, bars or indeed any public place will target
a jacket placed on the back of a seat, or an overcoat left on a hanger, or handbags,
briefcases, lap tops, mobile phones left on tables or by feet while unsuspecting owners
enjoy the festive season with family or friends.
Banks, Post Offices, Cash Machines
When visiting banks, Post Offices or cash machines to withdraw monies, please ensure
that you are not being watched and targeted. Never carry large amounts of cash bank/
credit cards in one place like a wallet or a purse. Place cash/credit cards around your
person so as not to make it a quick and easy target for thieves.
Christmas Wreaths attached to front doors have a habit of going missing overnight.
Please attach yours securely to avoid such ‘mysterious’ disappearances.
Pickpockets, Bag Snatchers and 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, bus
queues, and train stations and when traveling on trains and buses.
Beware of any cold caller who may visit your home asking for a donation to a known or
completely unknown Christmas Charity. Always ensure that when donating to charity
that your money goes to a legitimate cause and not into the pockets of criminals.
E.Mail and Internet Crime
Beware of unsolicited e-mails and web sites offering expensive goods at remarkable
knocked down prices. What may seem a terrific bargain may be a criminal’s way of
obtaining your credit/debit card details? Also be aware of ‘urgent’ e-mails sent to you
that appear to come from your Building Society/Bank/ Debit Card Company warning you
that there has been fraudulent use of your bank/debit cards.
Do not action these
e-mails until you have first checked with your bank/building society by telephoning the
telephone number shown on the reverse of your Building Society/Bank/Debit Card or
the phone number located on legitimate Building Society/Bank/Debit Card letter heads.
DO NOT call the telephone number shown on the e-mail. It is advisable to keep a note
of Building Society/Bank/Debit Card Emergency Telephone Numbers with you at all
Do not purchase anything from anyone approaching you in the street and/or who have
set up an illegal street pitch offering what they claim to be top quality electronic goods,
perfume or aftershave (or similar). More often than not you will be purchasing at best
a poorly made imitation or worse a neatly wrapped box of worthless items. And ignore
those who appear to be purchasing these items quite happily from street vendors, as
they are there to make the scam look legitimate.
Distraction Theft in Shops
When shopping, do not leave a wallet or a purse at the top of a shopping bag. Be
instantly aware if anyone edges their way close to you, or if someone you do not
know suddenly engages you in conversation. Working in teams and sometimes using
children as cover, what appears to be a friendly seasonal conversation, or an accidental
knock followed by an apology, often leads to a theft of a wallet or a purse.
Even if they cannot be seen by passersby, do not leave seasonal gifts unattended
inside motor vehicles. Please warn any visitors to your home to do the same.
December 5, 2012