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Neighbourhood Watch


Answer

Bogus Callers

  • 'Officials' may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, a utilities company, health authority or other organisation.
  • 'Dealers' may offer to buy antiques, furniture or jewellery.
  • A 'labourer / worker' may say that they need to enter the house to check something or make urgent repairs.

Bogus callers will be attempting to gain entry to the premises to steal, often working in pairs, with one person distracting the homeowner while the other gains entry to the property.

Always ask the caller for their identification and check it, before letting them in. You can also phone to company to verify their identity. Make sure that you check the number yourself, rather than using a number that they give you, as this may be false and be answered by someone working with them. A genuine caller will be happy to wait outside whilst you check their credentials. If you are in any doubt, do not let the caller in.

Some utilities companies have password schemes, so you can check the identity of the caller before opening the door. You can contact your supplier to find out if they provide this service.

Rogue Traders

These people may use pressure tactics to persuade homeowners to have unnecessary work done or to purchase goods. The rogue traders will often have no experience or training and will carry out poor quality work or sell sub-standard goods for large amounts of money and usually ask for payment in cash.

Here are some top tips to avoid becoming victim to a rogue trader:

  • Install a door chain or spy hole.
  • Never agree to have work done by somebody who is just passing or take their word that it needs to be done at all.
  • Never agree to have work done or part with any money on your doorstep.
  • Always get at least 2 written quotes from traders for any work.
  • Always agree the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates in writing before any work starts on your home.
  • Ask friends and relatives for a recommendation.

For complaints about goods and services, the Citizens Advice Bureau provide free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Please see the links in Related Information for details.


Answer

A secure home will reduce the chance of you getting burgled. Many domestic burglaries are committed by opportunists; criminals will look for homes that have little or no obvious security, have doors or windows left open or seem unoccupied.

Listed below are some top tips to help keep your home safe from thieves:

  • Installing an alarm system will help to deter burglars.
  • Ensure you have a robust, secure front door with British Standard approved locks and hinges. See the link in Related Information for detailed guidance from the Master Locksmiths Association.
  • Install outside lighting, such as motion sensor lights so that intruders cannot approach without being seen.
  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you are just out in the garden.
  • Consider installing CCTV, as this is good deterrent for thieves and if you are targeted, CCTV can provide valuable evidence.
  • When you go out, leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied.
  • Keep hedges and walls at the front of your house low (under one metre) so burglars have nowhere to hide.
  • Keep side and rear boundaries high and add trellis or prickly defensive planting to make it harder for burglars to climb over.
  • If you have a sliding patio door, check it has an anti-lift device fitted so it can't be lifted out of the frame.
  • Move bins or garden furniture that could be used to reach windows.
  • Ensure communal doors in flats / apartments are closed and secure and report any faults to your landlord.
  • Never buzz anyone in to the building that you do not know or let them follow behind you.
  • Lock and secure any sheds and outbuildings.
  • Property mark and register valuable items. See Related Information for details.

Please also see the following websites in Related Information.


Answer

The Trading Standards Institute gives detailed advice regarding cold callers and advice on your rights regarding them.

'Doorstep sellers' are becoming an increasing problem, usually targeting older people. Someone comes to your door with the aim of scamming you out of money or trying to gain access to your home to steal items. In some cases, the sellers portray to be reformed criminals who are looking to start their lives again.

You can put up a 'no cold callers' sign which should deter them from knocking on your door, and if a cold caller ignores this sign it is a criminal offence. Whilst the police may not be able to take action in each individual case of the sign being ignored, the information can be used to target these sellers and prevent them from committing crimes.

If you are the victim of this and the callers refuse to leave, you can contact the police. If you are not in immediate danger, we would advise that you make a report via the non-emergency 101 number or on the 999 number in an emergency.

For further guidance please see the links in 'related information' to helpful websites.


Answer

The Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network (NHW) is the official national overarching body for all schemes within England & Wales, providing support for all NHW scheme members. You can enter your postcode on their website (see Related Information) to find your nearest scheme. You can also send your local scheme a message via the site.

If there is not a scheme in your local area and you want to set one up, please refer to the website in Related Information for more details on this and other matters relating to Neighbourhood Watch.

Neighbourhood Watch schemes are very popular and many insurance companies offer a discount on home insurance if you are a member of a scheme.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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