This website has a page on crime prevention with a good section
on preventing domestic burglaries
Facts about bogus callers targeting older people. The average
age of the victim is 81.
Advice from the Home Office. Whether its property security,
mobile phone theft or vehicle crime, the government has advice
on how to prevent it.
The BBC is not responsible for the content
of external websites.
More about the BBC's Cracking Crime Day.
The BBC website about crime and how to protect yourself against
it - with a special section on crime and the elderly.
are around 12,000 incidents of "distraction burglary" each year,
where callers get into homes and then steal cash or valuables
while the occupier is distracted in some way.
Sometimes they work in pairs, with one doing the talking while
the other is stealing and they often target the elderly.
As part of the Government's "Stop, Chain, Check" campaign, local
councils, social services and Age Concern centres have further
information they can provide to older people.
They can also help with door viewers, chains and mirrors, and
in certain circumstances, may be able to supply a personal attack
alarm that connects through to a control centre.
conmen pretend they are from public utility companies. Check
their identity. Send them away if you`re not happy.
If there is only a mobile phone number, beware.
You might call it to check, only to find yourself being 'put
through' to an accomplice round the corner.
Keep genuine numbers of the water board and your electricity
Check if you have doubts. If you`re still not happy, call
you are convinced the caller is genuine, or they have an appointment,
and intend to let them in, lock your back door before unlocking
your front door.
Remember you can always ask the caller to return when you
have a friend in the house with you. Genuine callers won't
a caller is in the house, don't let them out of your sight.
all, don't keep large sums of cash in the home. Banks and
building societies are the best place to keep your money safe.
could be any day, in any Shropshire street. A young boy knocks on
the door and asks if he can get his ball back. In a second he's
through the garden gate and off on his 'search' of the flower beds.
In the time it's taken for him to chat to the elderly householder,
someone else has nipped in through the front door and has helped
himself to hundreds of pounds stashed away in an old tea caddy.
elderly are vulnerable
is the classic kind of distraction burglary plaguing Shropshire
it`s the kind of crime PC Phil Drapier from Shrewsbury police describes
is a beautiful place to live, scenic and with a relatively low crime
rate,' says PC Drapier.
'There`s a fairly large population of older people, with many having
chosen Shropshire as a place to retire. But for the distraction
burglar, potentially, that means rich pickings.'
the steadily growing number of so-called distraction burglaries
which prompted ten Midlands forces to band together recently to
crack down on the criminals, in a blitz they`re calling 'Operation
burglars know their targets,' says PC Drapier.' They prey
on the elderly because often, members of the older generation are
reasons they give for calling on their victims seem plausible. Sadly,
that child who knocks on the door asking for his ball back is often
being 'used' in the crime by an adult, sometimes his own parent'.
Drapier says distraction burglars are usually looking for jewellery
and cash. They know that many older people are still reluctant to
put all their savings in their high street bank.
we find that cash has been hidden in eiderdowns;in plant pots, under
the bed all kinds of places. Sadly these criminals know where to
look. They'll slash open an eiderdown in seconds rip up floorboards
damage is bad enough, but PC Drapier says the worst kind of cases
are those involving the victim who faces violence.
can happen when someone tries to intervene. For a frailer person
the effect can be traumatic even fatal.'
Liberate aims to target the people behind such crimes. It`s using
a linked computer system with a common database of information
about raising awareness of the problem. PC Drapier points out that
with a few common sense precautions, it's possible to avoid the risk
of being targeted or tricked into parting with your cash.
a door chain or door bar fitted; and a door viewer. Slip the chain
on BEFORE you open the door.
yourself whether you were expecting a caller. If not, be on your
sure your back door is locked if someone knocks at your front door.
Sometimes thieves work together with one coming in the back way, while
the other keeps you talking at the front.
the chain on the door. Ask callers from the council or any other
organisation to pass through some identification. If you need your
glasses to check this don't think it's rude to close the door and
go and get them. A genuine caller won't mind.
If you're still not sure, ask the caller to leave and tell them
to write and make an appointment so that someone else can be with
you the next time they call. The basic rule is if you don't know
the person at your door don't let them in.
part of the Government's "Stop, Chain, Check" campaign,
local councils, social services and Age Concern centres have further
information they can provide to older people.
They can also help with door viewers, chains and mirrors, and in
certain circumstances, may be able to supply a personal attack alarm
that connects through to a control centre.