Neighbourhood Watch… Sue Norris
Now the clocks have gone back and the autumn nights draw in, it’s time to think about the burglars out there and not leaving them “tell tale” signs that your home is empty and vulnerable. The art of illusion is to try and make it look as though your home is occupied even though you are not there. Provide that first impression to the “would be” burglar that this house is occupied, and it looks too difficult to get into.
if your house is overlooked and there is the chance of burglars being seen they will prefer to go elsewhere, so get some decent lighting on your house. Dusk till dawn activated lighting on the front and rear with energy saving bulbs, not only deters the burglar but you can see who is at your door or around your home, and when you return home you have a welcoming light.
• Is there clear unobstructed access to the rear?
Burglars will prefer to gain access out of sight at the rear. Where possible, top fence and gate access to rear gardens with some trellis or spiky toppings (the spiky topping requires a warning notice). How about some defensive planting? Something spiky like BerberIs, Pyracantha or Hawthorn around perimeter fencing or anything else you wish to protect e.g. a domestic fuel tank.
• The illusion:
Try to make it look similar to when you are there e.g. table lamps inside on timers (don’t use energy saving bulbs with digital timers as it shortens the life of the bulb). Remember these should be in the rooms you normally occupy i.e. lounge and kitchen – not just a hall or landing as no one lives in these rooms! How about a radio on a talking programme? It all helps. You can even buy a device now called “Fake TV” that mimics the light from a television.
• Out and about?
For a little extra confidence, consider carrying a personal attack alarm – many come with a torch and are quite cheap from DIY stores, internet etc. Most of all, be aware of your surroundings and avoid concentrating on mobile phones and music devices whilst out and about.
If you require further Crime Prevention advice call Essex Police on 101 and ask to be put through to your local Crime Reduction Advisor.
TalkTalk phone scams
In the light of the recent high profile problems with loss of personal data at TalkTalk and the ensuing phone scams, it seems appropriate to reiterate the common sense actions we can all take to keep our finances secure if we are targeted by these scammers.
Calls or emails purporting to be from your bank, building society, the police, computer support/security and other suppliers of services can be among the more common scams. These could be seeking to access your bank details, either directly from you or via your computer, or asking you to make a premium rate phone call to claim a ‘prize’ or ‘refund’.
What you should/should not do:
Never give any personal details, account numbers or PIN codes to unsolicited callers
If asked to phone back, only use a trusted number, from for example the official website or a bill.
Make sure the caller has cleared the line before calling back. If in doubt call a friend or other trusted number first.
Do not make premium rate calls – to numbers starting 090 – if asked.
Do not trust websites to which you are redirected – these can look like official websites but may be of poor quality or general design. If in doubt, leave the website.
Do not open attachments on suspicious unsolicited emails and delete any suspicious emails.
Don’t allow yourself to be pressurized or bullied by callers trying to rush you into buying a service or product.