Police Local Crime Reporting

Information added 04 October 2017

Door Step crime

This message comes from Essex Police and concerns 'Doorstep Crime'.

'Doorstep Crime' usually occurs when residents are called upon at home in relation to bogus property repairs or gardening services. The doorstep callers may suggest that there is some urgency to work being carried out so that you allow them to enter your property. The callers charge extortionate prices for poor and unnecessary work.

Essex Police and the Colchester Neighbourhood Watch want you to be aware of this type of activity to ensure this doesn't happen to you, or anyone you know. Here are some useful tips to remember:

If anyone arrives at your door, ask them for identification - you do not have to let them in and they must leave if you request them to do so.

If you decide you are interested in the work, take the time to research other companies and find out about their businesses.

If you fear that this type of crime has happened to you, or you need to report this in the future, please do not hesitate to do so. If you feel you are in immediate danger call 999, if the incident has already occurred please report through 101. IF YOU ARE UNSURE, DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR.

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Information added 11 September 2017

Crime Prevention Advice from the Police

The Police wish to remind residents of three steps to take that will reduce the risk of being a burglary victim:

Is there clear unobstructed access to the rear? Burglars will prefer to gain access out of sight at the rear. Where possible fence and gate access to rear gardens with 1.8m close boarded wooden fencing, top this with some trellis and/or spiky toppings (spiky toppings require a warning notice). Ensure the gate is securely locked Consider some defensive planting, something like Berberus, Pyracantha or Hawthorn around perimeter fencing and in trellis.

Doors: - Wooden doors ; in addition to the “Rim Lock” fit use a five lever mortice lock. Most UPVC and composite doors use a multi locking system, make sure you know how to use it. Pulling the handle up will engage all the locks but in some cases will only lock the centre lock, to lock all the mechanism in place you must use the key (if in doubt try it before the burglar does).

Make your home appear occupied even when you are out. Simple things like lights on timers and “Fake TV” for the evenings, you can also get a timer that fits over your light switches (search on the internet for light switch timer). During the day leave a radio on, boots outside the back door, vacuum cleaner out with the lead going out of sight (not plugged in though), newspaper over the arm of the chair with a drink on the table and a pair of spectacles, the list goes on.

Naturally there are other simple measures which can be adopted to reduce the incidence of crime. For further information use the link

http://www.Crimestoppers-uk.org

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Information added 15 June 2017

Further break-in to a Fernlea property

Following the incident affecting a Fernlea property which took place on 24 April (reported in Braiswick News on 12 May 2017), there has been another such incident to a Fernlea property on 26 May. Entry was obtained by removing a panel from the back door. There have also been recent incidents affecting New Braiswick Park. Reference can be made to the report below of the earlier Fernlea incident for links to information on crime prevention and reporting crime. In the meantime increased vigilance and the reporting of anything suspicious to the Police will help keep our area safe from the attentions of those seeking to profit at the expense of householders.

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Information added 26 May 2017

In the light of recent sad events in Manchester, vital information on what the public can do to help keep their communities safe can be found on the attached link:

http://www.npcc.police.uk/Counterterrorism/Communitiesdefeatterrorism.aspx

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Information added 26 May 2017

Safety Online

Information is provided by Essex Police & Colchester Neighbourhood Watch

The ways you can get compromised on the internet have become more numerous and more sophisticated. Now more than ever, it's important to follow the best practices to give yourself the best chance of getting through life on the net safely. Here are five ways to stay safe online:

1. Keep your software current, especially your security software. If automatic updates are an option, turn them on. Companies already take long enough to patch software so you don't want to go any more time patchless than you need to.

2. Passwords. Make them strong and long. Use special characters where allowed and mix in capital letters and turn on two-factor authentication where available. Remember to use a unique password for each account. If you write them down then keep that record in a secure place, or use a secure password manager.

3. Be very wary of what you click on. Delete suspicious emails. Don't open attachments unless you're absolutely sure they're safe. Be careful visiting unfamiliar websites. And don't click OK or Yes blindly!

4. Limit your business on open Wi-Fi! At the coffee shop, hotel or on the airplane, people can sniff out your traffic. Use a trusted virtual private network if you need to do sensitive stuff like financial operations.

5. Customize privacy settings on the services you use. Don't just go with the defaults. Even then, only share the information you must to make a service work. Be wary of entering personal or sensitive info online anywhere. There's no silver bullet for security — it's just a game of reducing the chances of bad stuff happening. But hopefully these tips will make your chances a little better.

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Break-in to Fernlea property

Information added 12 May 2017

There has recently been a further break-in of a property in Fernlea. Braiswick remains a low crime area in a comparatively low crime town. However sensible precautions should be taken when leaving your property avoiding, for example, leaving keys in french windows and back-doors etc. where they can be of use to an intruder, especially if they can be seen though an adjoining window. Tips on crime prevention can be seen in the section on the website on Police & Local Crime reporting. Members may also like to view the information provided by the Colchester Neighbourhood Watch on http://twitter.com/colchesternhw.

A further resource in the fighting of crime is 'CRIMESTOPPERS'. The Colchester Neighbourhood Watch have recently pointed out that in the period January- March 2017, as a result of people reporting crime through CRIMESTOPPERS, Essex Police have arrested and charged 206 offenders. https://crimestoppers-uk.org/

Other items relating to crime prevention can be viewed on the following links:

http://bit.ly/2qOpvtw

http://bit.ly/2qnsXM9

http://bit.ly/2pY5ddK

http://bit.ly/2pGPvqv
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Information added 26 April 2017

Spring has sprung so what crime does it bring?

Well, spring has sprung and the migration into the garden has commenced with all the extra jobs that it brings. Unfortunately, with the spring season also comes seasonal crimes too and we need give this a little consideration to prevent them and help others avoid becoming victims too.

New tools and lawn mowers: Be mindful of how you dispose of the packaging to your new purchases; don’t advertise them to the thieves and burglars with your empty boxes on display outside for roadside collection. Fold boxes inside out or break them up and put them in bag for collection.

Property marking: It’s a good deterrent if your property is visibly security marked with your house number and post-code or labelled if a forensic property marking system has been used. You can also record the serial numbers of any property and register them on www.immobilise.com for free. If your property does get stolen when marked and or registered there is a greater chance of you getting it back. Property marking also provides vital evidence for the police, so that they might charge a suspect caught in possession of your property.

Working in the garden: It’s easy to become engrossed in what you’re doing when working in the garden, so if the house is empty it would be wise to close and lock the door (don’t forget the key though!). Put the tools away after you’ve used them as ‘it adds insult to injury’ if your tools are used to break into your house.

Shed security: Refit the padlock hasps and hinge plates using coach-bolts (where you can) as these are a much stronger fit than simple screws. Secure the door with a good quality close shackle padlock or (if the door is thick enough) a key operated Mortice lock. Protect windows with a wire mesh and fit a curtain or white wash the windows to prevent prying eyes seeing the contents. When buying a padlock lookout for those that meet BS EN 12320.

New plants: Large, newly planted trees and shrubs that are vulnerable to theft can be anchored into the ground using ground anchoring pegs that are driven deep into the ground or you can plant the shrub through chicken wire, which is then covered up with soil. Cement, anchor, or bolt down vulnerable containers into the ground.

Rogue Traders: The rogue trader also takes advantage of the fine weather to con the unsuspecting. Although you may think they would never take you in they can be very convincing. They’ll say things like: “I’m laying some gravel up the road and see you need some……”, “I notice your trees or shrubs need pruning…”.

Look after your vulnerable neighbours and, if appropriate, step in should the need arise. If you need help with the garden and don't know where to go speak to a neighbour or take a look at http://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk where the traders have been checked by Trading Standards.

Information provided by Essex Police via Terry Fowles, Partnership & Community Safety, Essex Watch Liaison officer

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Information added 28 March 2017

Earlier this year a person unknown forced entry into a property on the Fernlea development via the rear patio doors using an implement of some sort. They undertook an untidy search and an item of jewelry was stolen. Whilst the intruder was on the premises the occupants returned home but were unable to gain entry through the front door as the intruder had taken the precaution of putting on the security chain provided to the door. The intruder then exited through the patio doors and escaped over the rear fence.

Colchester is a low crime area and crime in Braiswick is even less common. Notwithstanding this it is obviously a wise precaution to ensure that doors and windows, especially on the ground floor are securely locked before leaving the house and if possible remove signs that the premises is unoccupied e.g. remove milk from the doorstep, do not leave fliers etc protruding from the letter box and consider leaving a light on in the house at night. Consideration should also be given to fitting good quality security locks on windows and patio doors.

Other crime prevention tips can be seen below or by going to: http://www.Crimestoppers-uk.org

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Information added 29 March 2017

Urgent request from Essex Police

Essex Police are appealing for information after a woman reported being raped in Colchester.

The incident took place in the graveyard at the back of the Colchester Arts Centre off Church Street, in the town centre, between 1 a.m. and 2.50 a.m. on the 27th March.

Officers are investigating and are urging witnesses or anyone with any information about the incident to contact DI Nikki Simpson on 101 quoting incident 85 of 27/03 or CRIMESTOPPERS anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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URGENT MESSAGE FROM ESSEX POLICE

"You will be aware of the incident in Westminster which our colleagues from the Metropolitan Police Service are treating as a terrorism incident.

There is no specific intelligence at this stage which involves Essex.

HM Government has re-assessed the current national threat level and that remains unchanged at SEVERE.

Increased resources will be patrolling our communities in Colchester including areas where people gather, to reassure them.

The Metropolitan Police Service is advising that updates on the situation in London will be published on its Twitter feed @metpoliceuk

If you have any concerns, you should contact the police as follows:

If urgent, dial 999. If not urgent, dial 101.

If you wish to contact the community policing team with any concerns with regards to the communities you represent, in relation to these events. I can be contacted using the details below (I will be on duty into the evening today and again tomorrow during the day)."

Police Sergeant 1463 Lou Middleton
Colchester Community Policing Team

Internal ext: 430141
Direct Dial: 101

Mobile: 07815 491550

Email: ku.ecilop.nnp.xesse|notelddim.uol#ku.ecilop.nnp.xesse|notelddim.uol
Website: www.essex.police.uk

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Information added 22 November 2016

A Message from the Colchester Police Crime Prevention Advisor

Garages and sheds

By the nature of their construction and position, especially when away from the house, are always going to be vulnerable. Quite often the supplied locks provide just the barest minimum security and are easily overcome so always consider supplementing the existing locks with further locking systems both for the doors and items within.

On garage doors this could be by adding locking bolts to both sides of the “up and over door” or a garage door defender in the ground in front of the door, if you have a side door don’t forget the security of this too.

With sheds coach-bolt and plate the padlock hasp sections to the frame and door, use a good quality “Close Shackle” padlock or a key operated mortice lock; don’t forget the hinges - ensure they cannot be unscrewed.

Consider using “Ground Anchors” or “Shed Shackles” to chain larger items such as ladders, mowers and pedal cycles to (again good quality padlock and chain); keep chains tight so that it is not in contact with a surface it can be struck against. Protect windows with a wire mesh and fit a curtain or white wash the windows to prevent prying eyes.

Visibly security mark your property with your post code and house number as this reduces the value to the thief; you can even register serial numbers free of charge at www.immobilise.com . There are also a number of commercially available security marking systems available that are suitable for a wide range of products and others for specific products.

It is also worth fitting a shed alarm to the shed or garage and adding security lighting, these are relatively inexpensive and available from most DIY/hardware stores. If siting a new shed, where possible position it within sight of rooms in the house routinely occupied.

During the days on the lead up to Christmas ( sorry, I must bring up Christmas and I did hear it mentioned in a TV advert last weekend! ), as room in the house becomes scarce more of us will turn to our shed or garage to store drink, food, and Christmas presents. Don’t let the thief stock up at yours, consider the security of your shed and garage, add a few extra security measures and don’t leave doors open with these goods on display.

And finally whilst most houses have adequate security what is often neglected is the shed or garage, “nothing much in there” I hear you say, “Just a garden spade and fork”, but these are perfect tools for a burglar to use to get into your house. It adds insult to injury when the tool used to break into your house is your own, so give this some attention.

Products that are fit for purpose can found by looking for the "Secured by Design" or "Sold Secure" logos, or on their websites http://www.securedbydesign.com/ or http://www.soldsecure.com/ .

Keep informed about crime and policing issues which affect you by signing up to Essex Community Messaging – www.essex.police.uk/ecm . If you know who is committing crimes either ring 101 or you can leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 55 111.

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Neighbourhood Watch

Braiswick is a low crime area but if you want to start up a neighbourhood watch scheme for your road/area visit the Colchester Neighbourhood Watch website at http://www.cnhw.co.uk or alternatively email moc.liamtoh|wnretsehcloc#moc.liamtoh|wnretsehcloc for information.

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Reporting Crime On-line

Information added 12 April 2016

A message from Essex Police

"Whatever you need Essex Police for; we want to make it easy for you to do it.
For the first time you can report a non-emergency crime to us online.

Our 'do it online' service lets you report non-emergency crime, road traffic collisions and access a range of information and advice easily and conveniently. Online reporting for lost or found property will be added during April.

Essex Police has also subscribed to the national ‘knowledge bank’ Ask The Police, also accessible at www.essex.police.uk/doitonline. Ask the Police contains answers to hundreds of often-asked questions about policing from abandoned vehicles to youth issues. Your burning question may already have an answer waiting for you!

Remember though, we still need you to dial 999 in an emergency and you can still call our non-emergency number 101."

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New Community Policing Team

Information added 12 April 2016

The following has been received from the Colchester Crime Prevention Advisor:

"Colchester's new “Community Policing Team” has been launched by Essex Police as part of a renewed commitment to local policing that puts partnerships with councils and other organisations at the heart of community safety. The new teams will work in community safety hubs with partners like councils, other Emergency Services, Health providers, charities, Neighbourhood Watch and community groups.

Their main focus will be on community safety priorities, solving local problems like high risk anti-social behaviour, local “hot spot” crimes, repeat victims or keeping the night time economy safe.

Assistant Chief Constable Maurice Mason says: “Our renewed commitment to local policing means new teams will work as one with our partners to protect people from harm, talk and listen to communities about their concerns, gather information and help find answers to local problems. Our ambition is for a seamless link with Community Safety Partnership teams across Essex, working together to tackle locally-agreed priorities.

Working alongside those teams will be all the other parts of Essex Police which keeps people safe. That’s three thousand officers working for a safer Essex, including specialist domestic abuse teams, emergency crews responding to 999 calls, detectives investigating serious crime, and our countywide roads policing teams, firearms and police dog teams and officers and staff dealing with cyber-crime and fraud.”

Chief Inspector Elliott Judge, district commander of Colchester, adds: "As well as targeting the crime priorities in your community, officers are dealing with different, more serious types of crime and harm being perpetrated in our communities. It is known that you are far more likely to be a victim of crime in your own home than on the streets where you live. With this in mind our policing priorities will be Child Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and Domestic Abuse.”

More information about our team can be found on our community policing web pages"

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Avoiding Hacking

Information from Colchester Police Crime Prevention Advisor added 13 March 2016

To avoid becoming a victim of hack fraud, here are five key things to know:

1. If you receive a phone call claiming you've been hacked, it's almost certainly a scam. Companies whose data has been breached don't usually use the phone to notify customers.

Likewise, they rarely even use email. They normally send out formal notifications in the mail.

If you do get an email that you think might be genuine, don't click on any links in the message in case it leads to malware.

Instead, contact the company independently.

2. Breached companies will never ask you to "confirm" your confidential information, so don't give it to someone who asks.

3. Don't be taken in by messages that seem to include personal information about you. It's fairly easy for crooks to get their hands on very basic information about you.

And on that point, make sure you shred any documents that contain personal information about you, including your name.

4. Don't pay to have hacked data supposedly removed or cleaned up. It can't be done, except by the organizations that hold the data on their systems and they won't charge for it.

5. If you learn about a company you do business with being hacked, visit their website and/or contact them directly to find out what actions they propose to take to protect you and your data.

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Garden Security - Hints & Tips

Information added 29 February 2016

With the weather steadily improving and with the nights getting longer, it is even more important that your garden is secure from would-be criminals. Making your garden more secure could prevent an intruder from getting into your home, garage or shed.
Hints and tips for securing your garden:-
• Installing strong fences or gates will act as a deterrent, preventing intruders getting into your garden.
• Ideally any gates, fencing, walls and hedges at the front of your property should not be more than 1.2m (4ft) so the front of your house can be seen by passers-by.
• A standard 1.8m (6ft) wall or fence at the back of your house is sufficient. Increase the height to 2m (6ft 6in) if there is public access on the other side – any higher than this will need planning permission.
• Trellis fixed to the top of a fence is not only decorative but can provide extra protection as it is difficult to climb over, breaking easily and noisily. Trellis does not need planning permission.
• If your garden is easily accessible via the side of your house, a strong lockable gate, fitted towards the front of the property, will act as a deterrent.
• Garden gates should be at least the same height and strength as your fencing with hinges securely attached to the gateposts.
• Fit a good quality rim lock which can be locked from both sides as well as a padbolt with padlock inside.
• Ensure locks fitted to gates cannot be reached from over the fence.
• Remember to always lock your gates.
• Planting prickly plants or a hedge, such as firethorn, climbing rose or hawthorn, around the perimeter of your garden can be a powerful deterrent.
• Gravel on paths and driveways can act as an alert to someone coming towards your property.
• Install dusk to dawn security lighting. The low energy lamp stays on in the dark and switches off when it starts to get light.
• Secure garden furniture and wheelie bins so they cannot be used to climb on and gain access to upstairs windows.
• Do not leave ladders lying around – they could be used by thieves to climb into an upstairs window. Keep them locked in a garage/shed or chained to a fixed object.
• Do not leave tools, gardening equipment or debris lying around in the garden as they could be used to smash windows.
• Keep your garden neat and tidy so it looks cared for.
• While working in your garden, make sure doors and windows are locked to stop unwanted visitors.
• Do not use barbed wire, razor wire or broken glass on walls or fences to protect your property - you could be held legally responsible for any injuries caused. Consider fitting spiky plastic topping which is legal, along with a small warning sign.

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Vehicle Crime

Colchester has seen a small rise in vehicle crime over the last few months. Essex Police recommend you to take note of the advice listed below. Did you know that…

Most vehicle crime is preventable. It can take as little as 10 seconds for a thief to steal something from your car. If at all possible, leave nothing on view.

Never leave valuable items in your car, including sunglasses, the removable radio cover and your Sat Nav. Do you really need all those things you keep in the glove box?
Wipe away the Sat Nav mark on your windscreen.
Consider fitting anti-tamper screws to your number plate.
Never leave your car keys where they can be seen from the front door of your property.

Vehicle common sense

Always:
Close the windows and sunroof; lock the doors and activate any security devices when leaving your car unattended.
Park with care, particularly at night or if you are leaving the vehicle for a long time. If possible, park in a busy, well-lit area.
Never:
Leave cash, credit cards, chequebook, mobile phones, vehicle documents or other valuables in the car.
Never leave your keys in the car, even for a second - treat them as you would your cash and credit cards.

Secure your vehicle or risk losing it

Immobilisers:
Electronic engine immobilisers prevent your vehicle from starting and are the best way to stop thieves. Only buy security devices that are approved by either Thatcham, the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre on 01635 868855, www.thatcham.org, or by Sold Secure on 01327 264687, or visit ww.soldsecure.com. Have it professionally fitted either by your car dealer or by an installer approved by the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.

Alarms:
Alarms help to deter thieves from stealing your car, or breaking into it. For more information about alarms, contact the Vehicle Security National Helpline on 08705 502006, or find an approved installer through the Vehicle Systems Installation Board at www.vsib.co.uk

Property and equipment marking:
Etching your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or registration number onto your windscreen, windows and headlights provides an additional visible deterrent.
Property mark your equipment, such as stereos and satellite navigation systems, with your postcode and house number. Make a note of the make, model and serial number and register it at the National Property Register, visit: www.immobilise.com

Steering locks
Steering locks are a very visible deterrent and are ideal also for older cars. Fit one that has been tested by Thatcham and meets Category 4 approval.

Don’t give thieves a motive.
Keep your valuables safe. Remember, many thieves aren’t even after your car, they’re looking to steal the valuable possessions you’ve left on display in your vehicle. In fact, every year, more cars are broken into than are stolen. The simple advice needs to be repeated as it will help you keep your belongings out of the hands of criminals:
Never leave valuable items such as satellite navigation systems in your car overnight, even if it is parked in your driveway. Most thefts of and from vehicles happen when they are parked outside the home.
When removing your satellite navigation equipment, don’t forget to erase the suction mark it leaves on your windscreen.
Keep bags and other valuable belongings out of sight and lock your doors or wind up your windows when stationary or in slow moving traffic. Thieves can lean in and steal your things in just a couple of seconds.

Advice about motorcycles and cycles

To secure your motorbike, use a steering lock and steel cable, or D-lock to attach your bike to security rails or a ground anchor.
For extra security, have an alarm and immobiliser fitted.

To secure your bicycle
Buy a good quality D-lock or combination lock.
When leaving your bicycle unattended, lock both wheels and remove detachable items like lights.
Consider getting your bike frame security marked.

Further vehicle crime prevention advice can be obtained from the Essex Police website on http://www.essex.police.uk/be_safe/your_property/vehicles.aspx
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Rogue Traders

The tactics rogue traders may employ to gain your confidence or pressure you into accepting their are often unfair, unwritten or edited terms and conditions. Rogue traders call on unsuspecting households offering convincing deals that you can’t refuse or ‘to do you a favour’. If you accept work from a rogue trader you’ll pay much more than you intended for very poor, unnecessary and sometimes
dangerous work.

Common phrases rogues use include

- We’ve been working on your neighbour’s property…

- I’ve worked on your property in the past; do you need further work doing?

- I was driving past when I noticed loose tiles on your roof…

- We’ve got some leftover materials from another job that we can use at your home (such as Tarmac for a drive)

Tactics used by rogue traders include

Hard selling - overstaying their welcome in your home or at your door until you agree to them doing the work.

Stating they accept cheques but insist on cash once the work has begun

Agreeing a price which increases as they state further work is needed

Ignore your cancellation rights and begin work immediately

FACT - Rogues often pass your details onto other rogues

REMEMBER – Your door,
Your House,
Your choice.
Not sure? Don’t Open the Door

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If you want to know the true reported crime situation for your postcode, please visit https://www.police.uk/ and click on ‘find your neighbourhood’. This information will be from several weeks passed and does not have all the details but it is the complete reported crime picture.
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Intruder Alarms

Please note that Essex Police do not recommend any particular product or supplier.

If you are considering an intruder alarm system it is advisable to seek advice from installers who are members of a professional body, such as: -

National Security Inspectorate, Sentinel House, 5 Reform Road, Maidenhead SL6 8BY Telephone: (switchboard): 01628 637512 – www.nsi.org.uk

SSAIB The Smoke Houses, Cliffords Fort, North Shields, Tyne & Wear NE30 1JE Telephone: 0191 296 3242 – www.ssaib.co.uk

British Security Industry Association (BSIA), Kirkham House, John Comyn Drive, Worcester, WR3 7NS – Telephone 0845 389 3889 - www.bsia.co.uk

For other security products that have ‘Police Preferred Specification’ status visit Secured by Design – www.securedbydesign.com

Systems should be fitted to British/European Standards - www.bsi-global.com

Always get at least 3 different approved installers to give you quotes before you decide.

Systems can be monitored at special centres (Alarm Reporting Centres), for a fee. Reputable installers will give you more information on this, including an alternative option to link the alarm to alert mobile telephone numbers selected by you.

Essex Police respond to monitored alarm systems in accordance with guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) - www.acpo.police.uk Phone 020 7084 8950.

Generally, Non- monitored alarm systems are not responded to unless the person reporting the activation says that an intruder has actually been seen to enter or be on the premises.

The speed of police response cannot be guaranteed. It will depend upon the number, location and availability of police units when the call is received and a police assessment of the threat level.

DIY outlets often sell intruder alarm systems. However, bear in mind that these are normally non-monitored systems. False activations can annoy neighbours and result in action by the Environment department at your local council. If you have one of these systems you need a trusted friend, neighbour, or family member who lives close by and can deal with activations in your absence.

Some systems can be linked to your telephone and programmed to alert specific personal telephone numbers (normally up to 6) if activation occurs. Your telephone provider may make an extra rental charge for this facility. You will probably still need a trusted local person to respond in your absence.

Some mail order type companies market a whole range of alarms. You can see examples of these on web sites such as: -
www.solonsecurity.co.uk (Tel: 01352 762266)
www.jnemarketing.com (Tel: 01978 855054)
www.sure24.co.uk (Tel: 01949 836990)
(There are other providers).

Generally speaking, any intruder alarm is probably better than none. However, your choice should always be based on the following considerations: -
• Is it appropriate?
• Is it realistic?
• Is it cost effective?
• What am I trying to protect?

The above information is a basic summary of intruder alarm systems.
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That initial attraction

Without that initial attraction most crimes could be avoided, statistics show that most crimes are opportunist crimes, yes they may go out intending to commit crime but the victim is not yet chosen. So if there is no attraction then you may not become a victim.

What is the attraction?
• The shed or garage with minimal security and tools visible through the window.
• A lone person down a dark street talking loudly on an illuminated new I- Phone.
• The house in darkness with the side gate flapping open welcoming.
• That accessible open window or door.
• The purse sitting in the open handbag on top of the shopping trolley.
• Group sitting chatting at a bar table with a mobile phone just sitting there on the table.
• The bag on the back seat of an unattended car, even though the bag may only contain your sports clothes the thief does not know this until he/she has smashed the window and stolen it.
• The tradesman’s sign written van parked on the dark drive by the gate with accessible doors and unprotected pipe tube on the roof.
• The partygoer that’s had too much to drink and is unaware of his/her surroundings.
• Shiny new ride on lawn mower sitting on the grass in full view of the road with no postcode/security markings visible.

The above is just short list I am sure you can think of more. What can you do? STOP, think like a thief, spot the attraction and where possible remove it.

For further crime reduction advice contact your local Crime Prevention Officer using the police non emergency telephone number 101.
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TOO HOT TO HANDLE –

Recording your property using Object ID cards

As part of our heritage campaign, Essex Police launched the "Object ID" card. The card is intended to be included in your photographs of art, antiques, family heirlooms, medals, memorabilia and jewellery to give scale and correct colour rendition. The card also contains a guide to what details need to recorded in relation to your property.
When such property is recorded there is a greater chance of recovery of the property and a greater chance of a successful prosecution of the thief and/or handler.

Useful tips for photographing your property can be found within the guide on the heritage page of the Essex Police web-page: http://www.essex.police.uk/pdf/Recording%20your%20property.pdf

The cards are available from Age UK Essex, The Royal British Legion shop in Colchester, Community Agents Essex and from the Front Office at Colchester Police Station.
http://www.essex.police.uk/news_features/other_stories/object_id_cards_will_make_arte.aspx
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Bogus crime reduction phone calls

Phone calls claiming to be from the Crime Reduction Officer for Essex Police have been reported. The caller said Essex Police Crime reduction were calling people in that postcode and tried to start the hard sell.
If you receive a phone call or someone comes to your house that you don't know, don't be concerned about challenging the person and tell them you are not interested.
Remember :
* If you receive a call, never give information to people you don't know
or be tempted by their "fabulous offers", just hang up. If you do need some
work to be done, ask family/friends for recommended companies and try to get
three quotes.
* If you don't know who it is knocking on your front door, don't open it
but try to look and see who is there through the nearest window. Speak
through the door - you haven't invited this person to call and have no
interest in what they are selling or saying so don't worry about being rude
and leave the door shut. They will be able to hear you through the door when
you say you're not interested.

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Reporting Incidents to the Police

What is considered an Incident?
An activity out of the ordinary for your area/road or should not be occurring within your neighbourhood. Knowing your neighbours and their routines will make it easier to recognise and report incidents

How to report an incident:
Activities or events that are not life threatening emergencies should be reported by dialling the police non-emergency number: 101

All calls are graded by control room staff. Activities or events that are life-threatening emergencies or happening in front of you at that moment, should be reported by dialling: 999

If you wish to pass on any messages to your local police team or you would like some crime prevention advice you can do that by phoning 101 and asking that someone from your local team contact you. The caller will take your contact details and send an email to your local police team. Or visit www.essex.police.uk put your postcode in ‘My neighbourhood’ and you will get all the names and contact details of the officers from your specific area.

Useful information to the police when reporting a suspicious person:
Hair – colour
Eyes – colour and/or wearing glasses
Hat – what kind if wearing one
Clothing – brief description and colour
Jewellery – anything distinctive (eg nose stud)
Any distinctive scarring
Race
Approximate age
Approximate weight
Approximate height
Male or Female

Useful information when reporting a suspicious vehicle:
Registration number – if not putting yourself at risk to obtain it
Colour and make of vehicle (eg Ford, Vauxhall)
Model (eg Fiesta, Astra)
Body Style (2-door, 4-door, van, estate etc)
Condition (old, new, any obvious damage)
Other features (stickers, bodykits etc)

Useful Links:

http://www.essex.police.uk/my_neighbourhood/colchester_district.aspx

http://www.police.uk/essex/51/

http://www.police.uk/essex/51/crime/
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The following article has been taken from www.Crimestoppers-uk.org

Adopt a burglar’s way of thinking

by Michael Fraser.

Author note: Michael Fraser is an ex-burglar, who starred in BBC’s ‘To catch a Thief’ and ‘Beat the Burglar’ as well as Channel 4’s ‘One last job’. He is also a trustee of the Apex Trust, which helps young people with criminal records gain employment.

When you’re thinking about how to make your home burglar-proof, you have to think like an opportunist thief, because a burglar will look for the tell-tale signs of weaknesses in your home.

Start with the front of your house.
If your gate is open or broken, an opportunist will see it as a weakness. It’s an invitation. Always close your gate. If it’s broken – fix it. And if you don’t have one, get one.
It’s the first psychological barrier to keeping a burglar away.

If you have just one cylinder lock on your door, a burglar knows he can get in to your home no matter what. If you have two locks on your door and your neighbour and your neighbour only has one, the burglar will very likely go next door. He’s not going to make more work for himself.

Avoid ‘Beware of the dog’ signs. They are a sure indicator that you don’t have an alarm in your property. A thief will also think that you probably leave your back door open to let the dog into the garden. The same goes for an ‘I love cats’ sign or something similar. Pet owners often don’t have an alarm.

If the front of your house looks weak to an opportunist burglar, he can guarantee that the back of your house will be even weaker. As soon as a thief can get around the back of your home, he knows he’s probably safe.

As soon as a burglar is in your house, whether he got in from the front or back, he’ll go to the front door with either a glass bottle or a broom. The thief will balance the bottle on the door handle. If the owner comes home, the bottle will fall off the handle and smash before they get inside. This gives the thief a warning sign and time to escape. Or he’ll jam the door shut with a broom. Again, this will give the intruder a sign and time to escape if the owner fails to get into their house easily.

Humans are creatures of habit, they inevitably keep their house and car keys near the front door or in their handbag; a handbag will nearly always be left in the kitchen. Once a burglar is in your house, he’ll look for keys first. Then he’ll be looking to find out what your habits are. Your calendar will be very useful. Again, we humans are predictable and almost always have a calendar hanging in the kitchen. The thief will look for key dates – when you will be on holiday, when you have a dentist appointment – any clues about when you’re scheduled to be out of the house.

The next thing on a burglar’s list is to look for small items – non bulky valuables that can be taken straight away. This might include jewellery, credit cards, bank statements and spare keys. The thief will make a note of all bulkier valuable items in your house – he’ll be planning to come back again to get these when he knows you’ll be out.

Now the burglar knows you. He knows what kind of person you are from the items in your house and he has your bank details to clone later. If the burglar has taken a spare set of keys to get into your house, he’ll normally trash it before leaving. When a homeowner returns to a messy house, they have to go through everything to see what’s missing. They’ll normally be concerned about expensive jewellery, antiques and items of sentimental value. Keys are one of the last things people think of and so often don’t realise they’re missing. So when a burglar returns to finish the job, it’ll normally be within 7 to 10 days of the first burglary and the locks have not been changed.

How can you prevent yourself from being the victim of a burglary? Michael’s top tips:

• A key tactic in burglary prevention is avoidance and not just alarming your property. For example, chain up your wheelie bin to a fence away from you house. A burglar will stand on a wheelie bin to get into the first floor of your house. Furthermore, a wheelie bin is like a filing cabinet, so shred all your documents before you throw them away.
• Having two locks on your front door is really important and make sure your windows have window locks that are visible from the outside looking in. This will make your home seem like too much hard work to a burglar.
• Fix broken gates
• Put a wire basket on the inside of your letter box. There’s still space for letters to come through the door but it prevents burglars from fishing for keys through the letterbox – thieves know that keys are often left on a table next to the front door.
• Keep windows and doors shut and locked, even when you are at home. A thief will burgle your property even when someone is inside; for example, when they see a bathroom light go on.
• Use an alarm is you have one.
• Join your local Neighbourhood Watch and display the sticker saying you do. This demonstrates to the thief that you are aware of the risk of being a victim of burglary and he’ll most probably decide to move on.
• Don’t make it obvious if you are a pet-owner. ‘Beware of the dog’ often means “I don’t have a house alarm” or “my back door is open” in burglar language!
• When parking your car, turn the wheel towards the curb rather than keeping the wheels parallel. It sounds so simple but this makes your car alien to the opportunist thief because everyone parks their cars with wheels straight. Those turned wheels means it will take the thief a few more seconds to steal your car. Every second counts and they don’t want to take that extra risk of getting caught.
• Keep suitcases and bags in the loft or with their handles tied together. Otherwise a thief will use those very bags to transport items out of your home.
• Don’t keep a calendar in your home. It tells a thief everything about you. Put a blind in the kitchen and in other rooms so that people can’t see in. a thief can learn a lot about you just by looking in through your windows.
• One of the best things you can do is to film every room in your house in detail with a video camera or take lots of photos. Not only does this help you remember where everything was before the burglary but it helps you to prove to your insurance company that certain items were in your house.
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CAR KEY BURGLARIES

Information added 17 February 2016

In some cases burglars are breaking into houses while you sleep with the intention of finding your car keys and stealing your car and any other small items they find on the way, what can I do?

Firstly before you turn in for the night check that all doors, ground floor windows and easily accessible windows are closed and locked.
PVCu doors – don’t forget that the door is not fully locked until you have lifted the inside handle and turned the key or thumb-turn. When replacing a Europrofile lock cylinder ensure that you get a TS1007 three star anti-snap, anti-bump lock cylinder.

If you have an intruder alarm and can do so activate the downstairs zone when you go to bed.

To stop the burglar getting to the vulnerable windows and doors to the rear ensure that side gates are closed and locked.
Please also ensure that you put your car keys somewhere safe and out of sight, when you return home. Put your car keys in a drawer (preferably one that is noisy to open) or some other secure place, but don’t take them up to the bedroom with you.

If you have cars of different values, please park the higher value car in your garage. If you can’t do this, please park the lower value car in front of the higher value car, as the thieves are more likely to target high value cars and will be deterred if they can’t easily drive such a car away from the scene.

With high value cars consider the fitting of a tracking system, word of caution you get what you pay for, look for a system that uses RF frequency, 3 or 4G phone networks SIM as well as satellite connection GPS. There are even systems where you can “Geo-fence” the vehicle location so that if it moves beyond this the tracking system is activated.

For further crime prevention advice contact your local Crime Prevention Officer using the police non emergency number 101.

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