The definition of distraction burglary is when a one burglar distracts the occupant of a house so that the other can quickly gain access and steal items.What the definition does not do is describe the devastation this can leave behind for those who have become victims. However astute you are, it can happen to anyone of any age. It is the elderly and vulnerable who are particularly targeted and an incident of this kind can leave them with their confidence shattered and afraid to open the door.As a family member, friend, carer or neighbour, you can really help the potentially vulnerable people you know from becoming a victim of this unpleasant crime.Houses and gardens that are not cared for often indicate someone who is struggling to maintain their property and it is these places that are being sized up by distraction burglars.If your friend or family member is in this position, you can help by offering to mow the lawn and tidy their garden or help get the house painted. You really can make a difference in preventing this crime.Chains on the door are an essential and everyone should use a chain to answer the door if it is not someone they know. So often elderly people have come from a trusting generation where doors were left open and they are lonely and welcome a chat. These burglars are expert at offering a friendly word to distract your attention. Always make sure your back door and windows are shut and locked if you answer the front door.Everyone should have a good quality chain and locks on their door and windows and don’t let anyone into the house unless you are sure they are genuine. Always ask for identification and then check the telephone number from the phone book before allowing anyone in. A genuine official won’t mind waiting while you phone to check they are in your area.The Water Board does not exist any more, but the name is often used as a means of entry. Tell your family and friends never to do business on the doorstep or agree to work being done for cash with no documents or time to consider. (You legally have 10 days to reconsider). Cash stored in the house is a bad idea – so encourage the people you know to put money in the bank or building society. If they are distance away – offer to drive them there when they need to withdraw money.Elderly people are sometimes taken to their bank or building society by distraction burglars to withdraw large sums of money to repair a roof that does not need doing or tarmac a driveway. Most of the time they promise to return to do the work the next day and then take the money and run.Regular phone calls and visits make all the difference and you can help remind people of these tips, particularly if they forget things easily. A notice by the front door can remind them to use the chain or check an identity. Finally, Dorset Police is here to help. If you feel that you are being targeted by distraction burglars or feel threatened, dial 999 straight away. We have successfully returned thousands of pounds to victims because we have been notified in time.If you have been a victim in the past - don’t feel foolish – it can happen to anyone. Call us on our non emergency number 101 and report it and you may save someone else from being a victim. To download a copy of the notice to place by the door or hand to someone who is vulnerable click on the following link: http://www.dorset.police.uk/pdf/BeSureBeSafe.pdf
From time to time property comes into the possession of police that it is either lost or stolen, and police officers will always want to return it to its rightful owner. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds, even if it is an item that has a serial number. You may have recently read in the Dorset Echo that this is one such occasion. Police officers have a large quantity of recovered hand and power tools as well as generators. If you have recently had tools stolen it may be worth contacting Dorchester Police.It is always worth considering the importance of marking your property to maximise the chances of it being returned to you should it be stolen. Property marking is an easy identification method by using a UV ! pen to mark property with a postcode followed by house number, or first two letters of your house name if you don't have a house number. For tools it may be worth considering using paint instead of a UV pen. For jewellery, paintings, ornaments etc. it may be more appropriate to take a photograph, but remember to include a ruler in the picture to give a true idea of perspective. Finally, don't forget to make a note of serial numbers and keep the information in a safe place.Please contact your safer neighbourhood team if you would like more information.
Every day someone dies in a fire because they didn't have a working smoke alarm.Most fires start at night and the real killer is smoke. If you are asleep and you don't have a smoke alarm to wake you up, your chances of survival are virtually zero.While most homes now have smoke alarms, many are unable to do their job properly due to flat or missing batteries so:•Check the batteries weekly by pushing the test button until the alarm sounds.•Replace the batteries once a year.•After 10 years it's best to buy a whole new smoke alarm.•Beeping alarms can be a sign that the battery needs replacing.•You can also buy alarms fitted with 10-year batteries or alarms which plug into the light socket and charge up when the light is switched on.
Message sent byAmy Crowfoot (Dorset Police, Communications and Engagement Department, Force HQ)Dorset Police receives, on average, 1300 non-emergency calls every day. With the high volume of daily calls the non-emergency 101 line receives, there will inevitably be occasions where callers are subject to a delay with their enquiry.To help tackle these delays, after the initial contact where the call is prioritised by the call handler, callers are given the option to leave a message, request a call back or send the Force an email at email@example.com.Each of these options generates a quick response as calls and emails are closely monitored by officers in the Force Command Centre (FCC) which means that the public do not have to wait on the line.With such a high demand it is important that the public only call the 101 non-emergency line for a matter that requires a non-urgent police response. These will include, but are not limited to: Your car or motorcycle has been stolen Your property has been damaged You want to give information about crime in your area Examples of matters that will require a response from other authorities such as the local council and not the police are: Dog fouling Abandoned or badly parked vehicles Dumping or fly tipping As with every public service line, the 101 line is subject to misdirected, unnecessary or even nuisance calls. During this month alone, the following are real examples of calls the police have received:A caller found a basket of kittens and a mother cat and wanted to know what to do A caller reported they had dropped their phone out of the car window Callers have asked for: A taxi Opening times of the bank The phone number for Bournemouth Crown Court Cones for moving house School administration Superintendent Caroline Naughton, Head of Contact Management, said: “There are three key messages to the public. Firstly, policing is complex and therefore some calls will take longer to deal with, such as the reporting of crimes as we need to ensure all details are correct, provide support to the victim and ensure safeguarding is in place. Calls of this nature may take over 30 minutes to deal with and therefore the availability of call handers to answer calls is reduced.Secondly, if the matter isn’t urgent then please leave a message or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We have dedicated staff managing emails and responding to voicemails and we will reply to you promptly.Finally, it is very important that the public use the 101 service appropriately. We continue to receive inappropriate calls which put more demand on our system and potentially reduce availability of call handlers.Remember, if your call is an emergency, i.e. a threat to life, or if a crime is in progress, always call 999. For all non- emergency calls that require a police response, call 101 and if your call isn’t urgent, you can leave a message or use our email address email@example.com and we will respond to you as soon as we are able to.
Message sent byAmy Crowfoot (Dorset Police, Communications and Engagement Department, Force HQ)Dorset Police, as part of its CyberSafe campaign, is encouraging parents – or relatives, teachers and other adults responsible for safeguarding children, to ensure they stay safe online.When computers first came in to our homes their use was easier to monitor as they were static and often kept in an open area of the home.Now, of course, in the age of smartphones and tablets – effectively mini-computers that can be used anywhere – adults can find it a real challenge to not only educate children in doing the right thing, but monitor and control their online behaviour.None of us – of whatever age – is immune from encountering problems online. Our children are certainly more vulnerable and naturally more trusting than adults. Some of these potential issues are as follows:Inappropriate contact: From people, who may wish to abuse, exploit or bully them.Inappropriate conduct: because of their own and others’ online behaviour, such as the personal information they make public, for example on social networking sites. Unfortunately, children can also become cyberbullies, especially when encouraged by others.Inappropriate content: being able to access or being sexually explicit, racist, violent, extremist or other harmful material, either through choice or in error.Here is a simple checklist from the Dorset Safe Schools and Communities Team to help you keep your children safe online.1.Talk, talk, talk. The most important thing for parents and carers is to have lots of conversations with their children and young people about what they are using, how these website/apps work, why they enjoy them, who else is using them etc. In this way they may be able to identify any risky content, inappropriate contact or conduct at an early stage. 2.Allow access to the internet from devices within the family space. We do not recommend children and young people having computers or games consoles etc in their rooms. 3.Check virus protection. Ensure that mobile devices and laptops have the relevant software to protect from viruses and other malware. There are several free brands that update regularly and provide good protection or there is other commercially available software. 4.Subscribe to their Internet Service Provider’s family filtering service. All major providers now have this service free of charge – the account holder simply goes to their account online and ticks the relevant boxes. This will prevent different types of content from being available via the router in a particular location. Note this does not have any effect on devices that are not accessing the internet via the router eg 3G/4G phone signal. 5.Use Safe Searching. Most search engines such as Google and YouTube have a safe search facility under the settings menu. Parents and carers of young children particularly may wish to use this to stop them coming across inappropriate material. 6.Tighten privacy settings on websites and apps. Parents and carers should try to ensure that any social media accounts or apps are set to the highest privacy settings to prevent unknown or inappropriate people from viewing or contacting children and young people – this can be found under Settings in most websites/apps. Often the default setting for these types of account is public meaning that everyone can see content including pictures and videos. 7.Consider using Parental Controls on devices. Parents and carers may wish to use Parental controls on laptops, mobile devices or games consoles. These controls can limit the times the device can be used, whether apps/games can be downloaded and whether the internet can be accessed. iPads, Windows and new Android (4.3 or higher operating system) have built in parental controls: for older Android devices, apps may need to be downloaded to provide parental controls. More advice can be found on the Dorset Police CyberSafe website. cybersafe.dorset.police.uk - Please log on for further advice and details.