Thames Valley Police Alerts
Summer Burglary Crime Prevention Advice 2019
Now that summer is on the way people can become complacent about home security. The most common cases of opportunist summer burglary involve offenders that:
- Enter an insecure front door while residents are in the back garden
- Enter doors that are closed but unlocked at night while residents are asleep
- Reach through windows to take valuable items
Crime reduction advice
- Ensure that windows and doors are closed and locked when you are out. Don’t leave small windows open believing them to be safe.
- If you want to leave windows open while you sleep, fit window restrictors so they cannot be fully opened, or make sure they are not large enough to allow access to a burglar.
- When out in your garden ensure that windows and doors to the front of the house are secure. It only takes a second for someone to get into your home and take things without you noticing.
- Do not leave valuables on display in front of windows or in reach of open windows or doors.
- Ensure that all barbecue and garden equipment and tools are securely locked up in a shed and out of sight. Tools can be used by the potential offender to break in to your home.
- Consider fitting outside security lighting or a visible alarm to help deter burglars. Even using pea shingle or gravel on a driveway and spiky plants in garden beds can help.
- Don’t leave any keys near entry points where they can be ‘fished’ or ‘hooked’ out through the window, letter box or cat flap.
- Ensure any internal handle operated locks on UPVC doors are fully secured with a key.
- Register your valuables at www.immobilise.com and encourage friends and family to receive this type of message by registering atwww.thamesvalleyalert.co.uk.
Sheds – Easy pickings?
Offenders see sheds as easy pickings because they are unprotected and lack basic security measures. The buildings often contain property that can be sold on or implements that can be used to force entry into the owner’s home.
- Many sheds whilst being of good construction fall short on basic security.
- It is easy to unscrew the ironmongery, steal contents and in some cases replace the screws to make it look as if the shed has not been tampered with.
- By using tamper proof screws or coach bolts together with a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock, the shed owner will make it harder for the would-be thief.
- It is also a good idea to bond any window glass in, with mastic to prevent easy removal.
- Ensure all tools and equipment are locked away when not in use.
- High-quality locks should be used on doors. Windows can be fitted with a grille or, as a cheaper alternative, chicken wire, to slow a thief down.
- A shed alarm can also be installed.
- Post-coding or indelibly marking all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultra-violet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA or Smartwater or engravers.
- Installing security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier at potential access points.
- If building a shed, putting it where it is most visible to you and neighbours.
Going on holiday?
- Make your home look occupied.
- If you’re out or going away, ask a trusted neighbour to open and close your curtains for you.
- Ask a neighbour if they don’t mind parking their car on your driveway and trimming your garden to make your home look occupied.
- Cut the front and back lawns before you go away and trim any plants that burglars could hide behind.
- Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries.
- Before your holiday, don’t advertise that you are going away on Facebook, Twitter etc.
- Register for the Royal Mail ‘Keepsafe’ service.
How Do Burglars See Your Home?
With lighter evenings and the daffodils in bloom, now is the time to Spring into Action and review your home security.
The best way of doing this is to look at your property through the eyes of a burglar. Think about how you would break in if you locked yourself out. You may be surprised at how easy it would be.
To get started, simply download your FREE Home Security Guide from the Thames Valley Police website here: https://www.thamesvalley.
The guide contains lots of hints and tips including:
- A range of physical and digital security measures to protect your home
- How to avoid invalidating your home insurance through poor security
- A handy checklist for when you go away.
Being burgled is a traumatic experience. It’s not just the financial cost of replacing stolen items, but also the emotional impact of feeling violated after a stranger has been in your home.
In this short video, Jennifer and Sam talk about how they were affected after their home was burgled. You can watch the video on the Thames Valley Police YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/aY9eBeaQeA0
Alert - Fake Tv Licensing Emails
Scam Alert - Fake British Gas Emails
We’ve had an increase in reports about fake British Gas emails claiming to offer refunds. The links provided in the emails lead to genuine-looking British Gas phishing websites that are designed
to steal the usernames and passwords for British Gas accounts.
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk
Open Water Safety Advice
During the summer months and in particular in hot weather, Thames Valley Police would like to
remind our residents of the dangers of open water. Open water includes ponds, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, quarries, docks and beaches.
It is important people make the most of the weather and enjoy the water but do so safely and sensibly.
Spot the dangers
Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.
The dangers of water include:
• very cold temperatures
• strong hidden currents
• steep slippery banks – making it difficult to get out
• deep water – which can change and be unpredictable
• hidden rubbish or objects, e.g. shopping trolleys, broken glass
• there are no lifeguards
• it may be polluted and may make you ill
Make sure you:
• stay out of water unless you know it's safe
• don’t jump into the water from heights, e.g. bridges
• have access to safety equipment
• never enter the water alone
• never swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• look out for warning signs and advice in the area
• keep dogs on leads when you are walking near water
• avoid walking or running near water in the dark
If someone is in difficulty in the water reassure them, shout for help and call the emergency services on 999
For more information on water safety visit the Royal Life Saving Society website.
Support for Protect Your World campaign
Police and Crime Commissioner 'Let's Hate Hate' campaign
Last month the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley launched a Hate Crime awareness campaign to encourage people to come forward and report it.
Hate Crime is a crime or incident against you, your friends, your family or your property because of your actual or presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race or religion. It can take many forms such as physical and verbal attacks, vandalism, graffiti, online abuse and threatening behaviours.
The 'Let's Hate Hate' campaign is a continuation of the work of the Office of the PCC in supporting victims of hate crime and features 10 individuals from all walks of life who could be either a victim or a witness of hate crime, or both. The campaign's overall aim is to encourage both victims and witnesses of hate crime not to accept abuse as 'normal', but report it.
Increased Risk of Burglary
We have received advice from Thames Valley Police that typically at this time of year when the clocks go back, there is a increase in the number of homes which are broken into and burgled.
I would be grateful if you could take note of the advice and share this information with as many people as possible in your communities to prevent crime.
The basic advice to remember is to:
· Close and lock all your doors and windows when going to bed.
· Keep valuables out of sight.
· Don’t advertise that you’re out, invest in a light timer switch.
· Register your valuables with www.immobilise.com
· Receive crime updates by signing up to www.thamesvalleyalert.co.uk
Victims First Website
Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld launched a new website to support victims of crime. Victims First www.victims-first.org.uk is a new online resource for victims of crime which has advice on what to do and how to get help. It includes information and advice for victims including signposting them to services to help them cope and recover from the impact of the crime. It also includes a section on the Victims Code explaining clearly what help victims can expect from the police and other criminal justice agencies if they report the crime.
The focal point of the website is a directory which allows victims to find relevant support in their area. Members of the public will be able to use the website to refer themselves directly to the PCCs own support services or find information and contact details for other organisations. This support is available regardless of whether or not the victim has reported the crime to the police.
Fake Amazon emails claim you have placed an order
Action Fraud has received several reports from victims who have been sent convincing looking emails claiming to be from Amazon. The spoofed emails from “email@example.com” claim recipients have made an order online and mimic an automatic customer email notification.
The scam email claims recipients have ordered an expensive vintage chandelier. Other reported examples include: Bose stereos, iPhone’s and luxury watches.
The emails cleverly state that if recipients haven’t authorised the transaction they can click on the help centre link to receive a full refund. The link leads to an authentic-looking website, which asks victims to confirm their name, address, and bank card information.
Amazon says that suspicious e-mails will often contain:
- Links to websites that look like Amazon.co.uk, but aren't Amazon.co.uk.
- Attachments or prompts to install software on your computer.
- Typos or grammatical errors.
- Forged (or spoofed) e-mail addresses to make it look like the e-mail is coming fromAmazon.co.uk.
Amazon will never ask for personal information to be supplied by e-mail.
You can read more about identifying suspicious emails claiming to be from Amazon by visitinghttps://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/
To report a fraud or cyber crime, call us on 0300 123 2040.
4x4 System - Special Security Offer
Across the UK, theft of Land Rover Defenders is on the increase!
Since Land Rover stopped production of the Defender earlier this year, theft of vehicles and parts has soared. Yours could be next!!
To help you protect your Landrover, Thames Valley Police have joined forces with security marking specialists Datatag to offer farmers and land owners in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire the opportunity to have their 4x4’s protected with the Datatag 4x4 System at a heavily discounted price of:
£60 inc VAT (normal RRP is £99 inc VAT) + postage & packing*
This comprehensive security marking and registration system combines Datadots® with a forensic DNA marker, ultra-violet stealth etching and radio frequency identification tagging to create a powerful theft deterrent.
The system enables you to mark individual body panels such as doors and the bonnet as well as vehicle internals making your vehicle ‘Too Hot to Handle!’
To order your system simply telephone 01784 778310 and quote code TVPDef2016
Payments can be made on credit or debit card.
*Terms & Conditions
• Offer open to residents of the Thames Valley Police area (Berks, Bucks & Oxon).
• The special price is subject to change without notice.
• A charge of £3.99 will be made on each order (not system) to cover postage up to a max of 4 systems.
Phishing Email Alert
There is a phishing email currently in circulation that claims to be from the City of London Police. The departments that it claims to represent include the ‘Fraud Intelligence Unit’ and the
‘National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’. The email is titled ‘compensation fund’ and has a letter attachment that claims to be offering financial compensation to victims of fraud. The letter uses the
City of London Police logo.
The letter states that in order for compensation to be arranged, the receiver of the email should reply disclosing personal information. It states that HSBC and the South African Reserve Bank have been chosen to handle the compensation claims. All of these claims are false.
The email and letter are fraudulent and should not be replied to.
- Opening attachments or clicking links contained within emails from unknown sources could result in your device being infected with malware or a virus.
- The City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau will never email you asking for you to disclose personal information.
- If you believe you have become a victim of this fraudulent email get your device checked by a professional and make a report to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting
Alert: Watch out for free trial scams and pop-ups
Action Fraud has seen an increase in the amount of victims signing up for free trials for unapproved or misleading pharmaceuticals or supplements.
The scam usually involves a ‘pop up’ on your computer or a text message advertising a free 14-day trial. In signing up to this trial you are asked for your credit or debit card details and after the 14 days have elapsed, recurring payments are taken.
Recurring payments or continuous payment authorities are similar to a direct debit, but can be much harder to cancel or identify who is debiting your account. In most cases victims are finding it extremely difficult to cancel the subscription and the products are either not delivered or are inferior.
Common pharmaceuticals or supplements being advertised are teeth whitening products, food supplements and slimming tablets.
If you desire such products speak to your GP or a local pharmacist.
Be vigilant of free trials and always read the Terms and Conditions.
Conduct basic online research of the company before registering your details and financial information.
It is important to remember that in most free-trial cases because you have paid for a product and received it, this cannot be recorded as a fraud. If you have already entered your card details on one of these websites, call up you bank immediately to stop these payments and give us a call on 0300 123 2040 for advice.