Recent Local Crime Updates: Distraction Tactics and Burglary

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‘CONSTANT VIGILANCE!’ as Professor Moody always says…

Today there’s been a couple of updates from Staffordshire Police following some recent criminal activity. It seems there’s a bit of a pattern going around of distraction tactics, whereby a criminal uses a false identity, usually a salesman or a member of the Water, Gas or Electric Board. Remember – these don’t exist! Nobody from the Water Board, Gas Board or Electric Board are telling the truth, as these companies do not exist!

Officers are looking for witnesses of burglaries in Wolseley Road, Rugeley, that took place on Tuesday the 27th of September.

The following is some more advice from Staffordshire Police:

Residents are reminded to take simple crime prevention measures to protect their homes and keep burglars at bay:

  • secure passageways and side entrances, make sure sheds and garages are fitted with proper security locks, and put away tools so they can’t be used to break in to your home
  • if you have to leave ladders outside, make sure they’re on their side and securely fixed to a wall or permanent fixture
  • keep wheelie bins secure and away from your property to stop thieves using them to get through first floor windows, or setting fire to them
  • mark items with your postcode and house number using an ‘invisible’ pen available from DIY stores. This makes stolen property easier to identify
  • ensure valuable items are not left in plain view and keep them away from windows and doors
  • fit mortise locks to all front and back doors and locks to windows that are in easy reach
  • keep house and car keys safe and away from doors, windows and letterboxes
  • keep garages and sheds secure
  • fit low cost security lighting as a deterrent.

According to their reports, families of the elderly and vulnerable are being encouraged to warn their relatives against opening the door to callers like these. On Friday the 30th of September, a distraction thief struck in the High Street, Alton. At around 14:40 an 87-year-old man opened the door to a white male, aged around 35, with brown hair, who was approximately 6ft tall and said he was from the Nottingham area. It is believed he had an ID card of some sort, but no details were noted. He sold a cleaning utensil to the resident from a holdall he was carrying, and then asked for a drink. The victim obliged, and returned to pay the criminal, who had used the opportunity to steal some money from the house. The following is some advice for this kind of situation:

Residents are asked to remain vigilant at all times and to follow this advice:

  • Never trust anyone calling at the door without a prior appointment. Should you receive such a call leave the door locked. The caller will hear  you through the door when you ask them who they are. If they state they are from a utilities company ask for your account number, they should have this, if not, do not let them in and tell them to leave, and that you are calling the Police.
  • Always ask for ID, and check it.
  • Do not allow anyone to carry work out on your home, or sell you anything when they cold call at the door. If you do require work to be done, INSTIGATE IT YOURSELF, by phoning three companies asking for like for like quotes. Then decide.
  • Do not keep large amounts of cash in your home, you may think that you have the perfect hiding place, but these criminals will find it.
  • Please remember there is no such company as the Water Board, Gas Board or Electric Board. These words are only used by offenders.
  • Always report any suspicious behaviour to the police, if you think it is suspicious, it probably is.
  • Keep your doors locked even when you are home.

Residents should also follow the stop, chain and check rule when people call at the door:

  • STOP – If you are not expecting anybody and they don’t have an appointment – don’t let them in
  • CHAIN – Use your door chain or bar before opening the door
  • CHECK – Ask to see ID and double check this.

People can also use the Nominate a Neighbour (NAN) scheme which diverts cold callers to a neighbour who will check caller’s identity. NAN packs are available from local police stations.

If you’re elderly or disabled, then that means you are a more viable victim for these kinds of crimes – you will be slower to go upstairs and flush the toilet to check the water, or go and get the nice man at the door that drink. As such, you should keep this in mind with your personal security – do not feel rude by making people wait outside, and closing the door on them while you get the money, drink, or whatever else. Never feel as though you should allow someone inside your house. It is your private home, and they have no right to enter it without invitation!

Also remember that similar distraction tactics are used ‘on the street’ – it’s not just the people knocking on the door you have to worry about.

Contact details can be found on the original articles for witnesses or for questions, and a wealth of information and advice from a friendly, informed user base can be found at the (free) CSPS online forum at http://cspsonline.proboards.com – a wonderful place to share your advice and benefit from others’!

STAY SAFE!

Burglaries in Rugeley: http://www.staffordshire.police.uk/news/latest_appeals/111004_21_rugeley/?view=Standard&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Distraction Tactics: http://www.staffordshire.police.uk/news/news_releases/111004_ia_distraction_tactics/?view=Standard

Image courtesy of: http://www.kingston.gov.uk/cold_calling.jpg

Assault in Tunstall – Police Looking for Witnesses

Just spreading the word to help out with this one:

Officers were called to Furlong Road at around 10.30pm on Friday 30 September following a report of a fight.

A 15-year-old boy had sustained a head injury and was taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire for treatment. He was discharged a short time later.

A 45-year old man suffered a broken jaw and was taken to Aintree Hospital in Liverpool for specialist treatment. He was discharged yesterday, Sunday 2 October. He has been arrested in connection with the incident and has been bailed, pending further inquiries, to a date later this month.

Police are looking for witnesses, so if anyone noticed anything around that area on the day then please get in touch with them:

Anyone with information is urged to contact DC Louise Giles at Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455 quoting incident number 955 of September 30 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Issued: 03/10/2011           Contact name: DC Louise Giles           Contact number: 0300 123 4455
Crime reference number: 955 of 30/09/2011

The article, found at http://www.staffordshire.police.uk/news/latest_appeals/111003_ic_assault_tunstall/?view=Standard&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed says that the area was busy due to people being out enjoying the hot weather, so there should be at least one person who knows something!

Don’t forget that the weather should be a consideration in your self-evaluation of your own personal security – do you think about it? Join the discussion on the CSPS forums at http://cspsonline.proboards.com for more on this.

New Home Needed for Local Boxing Academy

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The Blue Glove Boxing Academy, which is run by Staffordshire Police officers, is in need of a new home in Stoke-on-Trent.

Boxing sessions are currently held on an ad-hoc basis at the Wallace Centre in Abbey Hulton, but the Academy wants to set up a permanent base of its own which can be used during the day, in the evening and at weekends.

PCs Colin Gay and Steve Marsh run the Academy, and earlier this year organised a charity boxing event which went on to raise more than £32,000 for the Blue Lamp Foundation – the emergency services charity set up by injured PC David Rathband. The Academy regularly hosts sessions for young people, which helps to develop their fitness and discipline and is a useful diversionary tactic away from anti-social behaviour. Having a permanent base would enable more such sessions to be organised.

It’s always good to remember that things like boxing aren’t just about hitting pads and people! The benefits to combative training of all kinds are both numerous and substantial.

“We are looking for new premises we can call home,” said PC Gay. “Ideally we are after a floor of a building that is not being used and which we can access daily. It needs to be spacious so we can install a ring and other boxing equipment, and ideally situated in Stoke-on-Trent. If we are successful in finding a new base our aim is to deliver more training sessions to young people to engage them in positive activity, and away from anti-social behaviour.”

Anyone who can provide a new home for the Blue Glove Boxing Academy is asked to contact PC Gay at Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455 .

Can you help them out? Any ideas? Please get in touch with them if you can – Stoke-on-Trent could use some more youth activities, especially of this kind.

Here’s the original article: http://www.staffordshire.police.uk/news/news_releases/110928_ie_boxing_academy/?view=Standard

Image courtesy of http://reviews.costco.ca/2070-en_ca/10300708/everlast-everlast-14-oz-blue-boxing-gloves-reviews/reviews.htm

Security Warning from Staffs Police

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Staffordshire Police have issued a warning today to remember your home security, in light of ‘several recent burglaries across the south of the county’.

Of course, this advice applies all the time, not just in higher-risk times!

Is your home safe?

Properties in the Rugeley, Stafford, Cannock and Uttoxeter areas were targeted by offenders.

The majority of these properties were left insecure and small items including wallets, mobiles and handbags were stolen.

Residents are urged to look at their property through the eyes of a burglar and make adjustments if there are weak security spots.

This is really good advice when considering your home security. It is also a good idea to apply this to your personal security – look at yourself through the eyes of a mugger, ‘monkey-dance’ thug, rapist or sadistic violence opportunist. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and your personal security.

The warning urges people to lock their doors and shut windows when they go upstairs or into the garden. I always say to people (because it’s true) that you should consider an unlocked door an open door, as it very nearly is. The barrier it presents to a committed criminal is negligible at best.

To keep burglars at bay:
  • secure passageways and side entrances, make sure sheds and garages are fitted with proper security locks, and put away tools so they can’t be used to break in to your home
  • if you have to leave ladders outside, make sure they’re on their side and securely fixed to a wall or permanent fixture
  • keep wheelie bins secure and away from your property to stop thieves using them to get through first floor windows, or setting fire to them
  • mark items with your postcode and house number using an ‘invisible’ pen available from DIY stores. This makes stolen property easier to identify
  • ensure valuable items are not left in plain view and keep them away from windows and doors
  • fit mortise locks to all front and back doors and locks to windows that are in easy reach
  • keep house and car keys safe and away from doors, windows and letterboxes
  • keep garages and sheds secure
  • fit low cost security lighting as a deterrent.

All good advice – it should be common sense and second nature though! If you’ve got any doubts, questions, worries, etc about this kind of thing then there’s further information on www.staffordshire.police.uk or you can call their non emergency number on 0300 123 4455.

Alternately, join the discussions already taking place on our forum – it’s completely free, and the users are all friendly and respectful. Find us at http://cspsonline.proboards.com, or use the button at the top of this page.

There’s a discussion started on whether you’re prepared or not here – what do you do to keep your home safe from invasion? http://cspsonline.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=26

There’s a discussion here about the (fairly) recent clarification of UK home defence law as well, with useful links to further information: http://cspsonline.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=27

The original police article can be read here: http://www.staffordshire.police.uk/news/news_releases/110926_21_security_warning/?view=Standard

Image courtesy of Guardian.co.uk (http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Money/Pix/pictures/2007/09/26/Burglar276.jpg)

Visible Justice–A New Initiative from Staffordshire Police

image‘Visible Justice’ will be taking place from 09:00 on Monday the 25th of July.

Working with the Magistrates court service staff, Staffordshire Police will be publishing the details of cases being dealt with across Staffordshire on their website. The event will also be published widely on the force’s numerous Twitter and Facebook accounts. It will enable users to ‘gain an insight into what is happening in the Magistrates’ Courts on a daily basis from wherever they are’.

You can see your the CoverItLive event which covered a night in custody by visiting this link:
www.staffordshire.police.uk/behindbarslive.

A press release will be issued in the next couple of days with more details.

Meanwhile, here’s a link they have provided me with that you can use to keep updated about Visible Justice in the meantime:
 http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=d50528022b/height=550/width=460

Mobile users may prefer to use this:
http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=d50528022b

I would’ve embedded this element, but WordPress doesn’t allow the iframe HTML code for security reasons. It makes no difference though, it’ll open the same.

All the best,
FCIns. Josh Nixon

Staffordshire Canal Watch

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For all those who regularly use or live near the canals in Staffordshire, Staffs Police have rolled out a new scheme – ‘Staffordshire Canal Watch’ – with which to hopefully decrease crime around the canals. Here’s their Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Staffordshire-Canal-Watch/187198284674517?sk=wall

I’d say it’s worth a look – I assume any updates there are of local issues, etc will be posted here, so it’s worth giving it a ‘like’ just in case, and if nothing else to show them that we do actually care about these initiatives they put out.

If you head over to their wall then you can subscribe via SMS, which is a useful and convenient way to keep up with their news if you’re out. I’ve subscribed. They’ve put on some info about keeping property safe too for canal-faring types. Also on there is some contact information, including their website: http://www.staffordshire.police.uk

Just thought I’d keep you all up to date with this kind of thing; you never know – it could save someone’s life one day.

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