ON THE BEAT - September

IN this month’s column I’d like to talk about distraction burglary. This can take a number of forms but is carried out by criminals who deliberately target the most vulnerable members of our communities.

It involves criminals posing as genuine callers, frequently claiming to be officials from a utility company, such as water, electricity or gas, to gain entry into a person’s home. Once inside, one of the callers distracts the homeowner, while another searches for money and valuable items to steal.

A variation of distraction burglary involves criminals posing as reputable tradespeople who offer to undertake repair work on a person’s property. They do the work badly – if at all – and put people under extreme pressure to pay.

Anyone can be the victim of a distraction crime but older, vulnerable people are at most risk. Research shows that 67 per cent of victims are female, 74 per cent of victims live alone and the average victim is 80 years old.

Fortunately the majority of people, after the initial shock of the crime, make a full recovery. For a small minority, the most vulnerable, the consequences can be very serious and long term.

To help combat doorstep crime, and in particular distraction burglaries, West Mercia Police launched its Knock Knock campaign. This aims to provide simple advice to householders and encourages neighbours to look out for each other and make life difficult for doorstep criminals. We are committed to reducing the number of distraction burglaries and rogue callers and work closely with trading standards officers from local authorities and utility companies to bring offenders to justice with joint enforcement and crime prevention initiatives.

To find out more information about how you can protect yourself and what to look out for go to the West Mercia Police website at www.westmercia.police.uk or speak to your Local Policing Team.

INSPECTOR PAUL CROWLEY, Kidderminster Police

Comments (1)

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5:10pm Mon 3 Sep 12

DAVID1875 says...

Whilst on the subject of rogue traders,I hereby notify Inspector Crowley of suspected rogue traders who are part of the illegal traveller encampment at West Hagley,which is just outside the Wyre Forest Policing area.Several trucks leave the site and are out in the area all day(potentially in the Kidderminster area)and they return at night with loads full of tree cuttings etc.Are they fully licenced to trade?Do they have waste carrier licences? Are they overcharging householders for sub-standard work?Police can check this by attending the site asap and checking all documentation etc. I hope Inspector Crowley can reply to me via this comments section to reassure the law-abiding local community of police action against rogue traders.
Whilst on the subject of rogue traders,I hereby notify Inspector Crowley of suspected rogue traders who are part of the illegal traveller encampment at West Hagley,which is just outside the Wyre Forest Policing area.Several trucks leave the site and are out in the area all day(potentially in the Kidderminster area)and they return at night with loads full of tree cuttings etc.Are they fully licenced to trade?Do they have waste carrier licences? Are they overcharging householders for sub-standard work?Police can check this by attending the site asap and checking all documentation etc. I hope Inspector Crowley can reply to me via this comments section to reassure the law-abiding local community of police action against rogue traders. DAVID1875
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