BLITZ ON CONMEN AT YOUR DOOR OVER FESTIVE SEASON
December 19, 2002
They are warning people to be extra vigilant when opening their doors to strangers over the festive season.
Cases of distraction burglaries and conmen posing as officials are generally higher during December and January,according to police surveys.
The victim is usually elderly and often left devastated by the experience.
Often they find it hard to recover, according to Sarah Scales, crime reduction advisor at Bracknell police station.
"The knock on effect can affect family and friends, as well as neighbours who can start to feel vulnerable and worry that it may happen to them," she said.
"Although there are organisations that can help support victims, the best possible approach is to try to prevent these offences happening in the first place."
The police have issued this eight-step prevention guide:
When the doorbell rings ensure that your back door and windows are shut.
Check through a window or spy hole who is knocking at your door. Do not feel obliged to open the door at any time.
If you wish to open the door, use the door bar or chain first.
If the visitor has previously made an appointment with you, then set a pre-arranged password first (of your own choice). Ask for that password.
If the caller cannot give you a password then do not open the door.
Once the correct password has been given then ask to see identification.
Close your front door while you check it. Do not feel hassled.
If you are not happy then keep the chain or bar on and return the ID, close the front door and say through the closed door that you would prefer not to let them in.
Remember any legitimate official would understand your actions.
Never allow any official into your home without an appointment.
If you have any suspicions then phone the police on 999. Every call of this nature is important and you will not be wasting their time.
Offenders use a variety of excuses, from children with lost balls to utility officials claiming there is an
emergency such as a burst water or gas main.
Stuart Broomfield, Southern Electric's director of customer service, said: "Distraction
burglary is a despicable crime.
"I'd like to remind customers and residents to take extra care when answering the door at this time of year."