If in doubt, keep them out!
Northumbria Police is again running the ‘If in doubt, keep them out!’ campaign aimed at tackling doorstep crime.
Doorstep crime can include distraction burglaries, bogus officials, high pressure doorstep selling, rogue traders and cold callers.
It is a crime which invariably targets the more vulnerable members of our communities including the elderly.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of crime prevention and help people keep their property safe.
It also encourages people to be good neighbours, by looking out for any suspicious callers in their area.
Doorstep crime prevention in action:
How the doorstep crime prevention initiative has been helping people stay safe across the force:
Police deliver crime prevention advice
Neighbourhood officers attended screenings at cinemas across the Northumbria Police region aimed at older audiences to hand out leaflets with advice on how to stay safe and prevent being taken in by bogus callers.
Films are screened on a week-day morning at cinemas in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and North Tyneside with films chosen specifically to appeal to older patrons. The club-like screenings attract large audiences who regularly meet up to attend popular films.
The force is always looking at new ways to get crime prevention messages across to specific groups of people. These cinema screenings are a useful way for the force to reach older audiences who might benefit from this information.
Pictured are PC Julie Waller and PCSO Kevin Cresswell handing out leaflets to cinema-goers at Silverlink.
Joint handy work to help victims
Police are working with partners to help crime victims with a handy crime prevention scheme.
Northumbria Police has been working with Safer Northumberland Partnership and the Age UK Handyvan scheme to help residents who are referred for crime prevention assistance. Residents who had been victims of burglary or bogus callers were considered for help. They received a visit and had their home security improved during the pilot scheme.
Those visited have also received information about how to safeguard against bogus callers.
Northumbria Police Crime Prevention Advisors have visited people in their home to assess what security measures were needed, including door or window locks, door chains or door viewers. Trained Age UK staff have then been installing the necessary equipment free of charge.
Pictured left to right Age UK staff with Ashington officers: Handyman Jeff Young, PC Julie Jameson, Elizabeth Simpson, Age UK Day Services Development Manager, PC Kelly French, Acting Chief Executive Katherine Shearer, Chair of the Board Richard Dobson.
Police deliver crime prevention advice
Police have been visiting local events aimed at older people in the Washington area to deliver crime prevention advice.
Neighbourhood officers attended activities organised by associates of Age UK Sunderland to talk to older residents about how to stay safe from bogus callers.
Inspector Paul Stewart of Washington Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "These local events, which attract residents from around the Washington area, are a good way for us to get our crime prevention advice to the right people."
Director of Age UK Sunderland Alan Patchett said: “I am delighted that officers are visiting our day clubs with their crime prevention messages. It will be really useful for older people and will offer them great reassurance."
For more information about events in Sunderland for older people go to www.ageuksunderland.org.uk
Pictured are members of the Lambton Ladies group with PCSO Simon Routledge.
Bus stops for crime prevention
Police jumped onboard the community 'Plus Bus' to bring crime prevention advice to older people.
The special bus service with an inbuilt mobile library is run by North Tyneside Council, Age UK North Tyneside and VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency). It helps residents, especially older people, get about the borough and keep in touch. Plus Bus travels between community centres, shopping areas and sheltered accommodation.
Chief Inspector Mandy Shea, from North Tyneside Area Command, said: "Officers travel around the borough as part of their neighbourhood patrols, now they've stepped on board the bus to bring our crime prevention message to more residents."
Cllr George Westwater, cabinet member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: "I’m pleased that our partners at Northumbria Police are using the Plus Bus to pass on important messages about bogus callers."
For more information about the Plus Bus, contact North Shields Library on (0191) 643 5270 or visit www.northtyneside.gov.uk
Tea and crime prevention
Well-known North East tea company Ringtons, joined forces with Northumbria Police to serve up tea and crime prevention advice to homes across the region.
Ringtons helped the doorstep crime prevention initiative by handing out crime prevention leaflets to their customers with a friendly reminder from sales staff for older residents about how to keep themselves safe.
Chief Inspector Bob Ryan from Northumbria Police said: "We're very pleased Ringtons is supporting our doorstep crime prevention campaign by helping us to personally deliver this safety message.
"They are a familiar sight in the region as they visit their customers on a regular basis and have built up a good relationship in some cases over many years. So we're sure people will be pleased to get some advice and reassurance along with their tea."
Lisa Thornton, Marketing Manager at Ringtons said: "We’re delighted to be supporting Northumbria Police; we have great relationships with our customers, a large proportion who are elderly, so we’re well placed to get these messages out there."
Pictured are: Chief Inspector Bob Ryan, customer Mrs Jean Spencer and Simon New from Ringtons.
You cannot always be sure who is calling at your door, so if you are not expecting anyone, you should ask to see their identification.
You might think you are being rude by refusing to let someone into your home but it is your property and your decision.
Criminals who use false identities to try and get into your home to steal property are known as ‘distraction burglars’ or ‘bogus callers’.
Just because a caller says they’re from a particular company, like the gas board or water company, the council or even the police, it does not mean that they are from that organisation.
Bogus callers can also wear ordinary clothes or be children/adults asking for a drink of water or to wash their hands. These are excuses to distract you.
You can help yourself and Northumbria Police by following these simple steps:
Keep your front and back doors locked and take the keys out - even when at home
Stop and think if the caller is expected.
Look through a spy hole or window to identify who the caller is.
Put the door chain or door bar on before opening the door and keep it on while talking to the caller.
Ask for the caller’s identity card and check it carefully - even if the person has a pre-arranged appointment.
Don’t let visitors who are in a hurry, pressurise or confuse you – leave them to wait outside while you confirm who they are. Genuine visitors will not mind waiting.
When you need to leave a caller standing outside, while you collect or check something indoors, always remember to close the door and lock it.
Never use a telephone number given to you by a caller – find the number in your telephone directory or check with a friend, relative or neighbour.
If you are not comfortable, ask the caller to return. Make sure someone is with you when they come back.
Only use reputable workmen recommended by family and friends, or those who have worked satisfactorily for you before. Your local Trading Standards might have a registered traders scheme which can provide advice on choosing someone for your job.
Anyone who suspects anything suspicious should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you suspect a crime is being committed call 999.