Monthly Update from PCSO Kate Richards - November 2019
Community Safety Unit | Ashford Police Station | East Division
Myself, Carin and Laura have been continuing to show presence in all areas both on foot and in a police vehicle, engaging with the community and visiting hotspot areas.
Halloween and Fireworks
This month we have various Operations going on out of our Community Safety Unit (CSU) office which were set up for Halloween and Fireworks evenings all of these passed without any major issues in all the areas we cover. It was lovely going around all the towns and Parishes seeing and speaking to the families and groups going around trick or treating’s, so many had made an effort. It was a good atmosphere where communities were coming together. A lot of organised firework displays this year were re-arranged due to the high winds and wet weather. We attended displays as and when we could and everyone stayed safe and enjoyed the events.
Laura and I attended Tenterden for their Remembrance service, which was very well attended, with Sergeant Hart from our CSU team laying a wreath from Kent Police. It was a very busy morning and due to the cold a few members of our community attending the service became ill. First Responders were on hand and the ambulance service arrived to assist, some were taken to hospital to just be checked out as a precaution, they were all released later.
We also assisted the British Legion on the Monday after in helping collect all the donation boxes from local businesses in the area.
Christmas Shopping Weekend – Tenterden
Busy weekend in Tenterden for their Christmas Weekend with many visitors and locals enjoying the start to Christmas with the official switching on of the tree lights with a few of us out in the town to make sure everyone stayed safe and enjoyed.
We will be attending more Christmas events in our areas over the next few weeks.
With the holiday season and darker nights upon us please can I provide a few crime prevention tips and advice? We have been having some tool and equipment thefts especially in some of our rural parishes. I am also working with a few parishes who are having issues with their By-Ways, we are working with KCC and the Rural Tasking Team to try and resolve these problems. Please make sure any Criminal damage is reported via the correct channels.
RURAL CRIME PREVENTION
Equipment and tool security
Equipment and tool security can be a particular issue for rural businesses and farms.
To keep your belongings safe:
•lock equipment away in a secure building or part of a building when not in use
•invest in a secure storage toolbox
•install a burglar alarm on buildings where equipment is kept
•always lock vehicles when left outside and keep the keys in your possession
•keep expensive items and vehicles out of sight when not in use
•consider using hitch locks, wheel clamps or ground anchors
•mark your tools and equipment and register them for free with Immobilise
•keep a record of all valuable items
•consider fitting outside security lights
Estate and building security
A good standard of building security is very important in rural areas, especially for outbuildings that may not be visited for weeks at a time. Farmhouses and other rural properties are the same as any other home, so general home security advice still applies. However, because of the remote location, additional security measures may be beneficial. To protect your rural home or business:
•keep the boundaries of your land and property well-maintained and secure
•keep all doors and windows shut and locked when not in use
•install a visible burglar alarm
•make sure windows and door frames are secure and in good repair
•fit strong locks to sheds, garages and outbuildings
•fit good quality window locks
•consider security bars and grilles for vulnerable windows and openings
•make sure gates cannot be lifted off or have their fixing bolts removed
•check security equipment regularly to ensure it works properly
•use locking posts or temporary obstructions to control wide access points to yards
For additional security you could also:
•install automatic security lights that come on at dusk and turn off at dawn
•install CCTV cameras to watch over the most vulnerable areas of the property
•install a monitored intruder alarm system
•install an entry control system infrared, intercom or keypad
•establish a single gated entrance and exit, removing all private access points that are not in use
Take a good look around your property boundary for any potential places where it could be made more secure.
•planting thorny hedging to act as a natural barrier
•digging deep ditches to control and deter unwanted vehicle access
•if possible, having a single-gated access point to the property
•using locking posts or temporary obstructions to control large openings
•invert and cap gate hinges
•making sure fixing bolts are secure and use covered padlocks
•installing warning signs
All incidents of illegal activity should be reported to the appropriate authority as soon as possible. If you are able to, make a note of any vehicle details and a description of the people involved. Always consider your own personal safety first before approaching anyone you think might be doing something illegal. To report a crime, please call 101.
You can also call our Rural Task Force to discuss any issues relating to rural crime in your area. For: Shepway, Ashford, Canterbury, Dover and Thanet call 07980 978202
Keep your home safe
Burglars are often opportunistic thieves who prey on houses and flats. They seek out any opening that they can take advantage of, specifically doors and windows that are left open or unlocked or are easy to force. Anything of value that they might spot through a window will only spur them on. But it really doesn’t take much to deter these thieves – just smart thinking.
•Burglars target homes that they think will contain valuables. A sure giveaway is leaving packaging from expensive items outside your front door
•Burglars often look for homes with windows or doors left open or with vulnerable features that they can exploit.
•Burglars are aware of the times when someone is expected to be away from their house such as during the school run or holidays
•Burglars typically do not want to be seen or heard and if they feel that they would be noticed by a neighbour or passer- by then they are more likely to feel exposed and may move on to find somewhere else to burgle
•Burglars often choose a home because they’ve spotted a specific vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle they want to steal – and the keys are more than likely to be inside the residence
•Sheds and garages are often vulnerable as they are not that secure and contain tools which the burglar can use to assist them to gain entry to a home
•It’s a fact that many burglars return to homes that they’ve previously burgled because the homeowner failed to upgrade security following the first burglary. They sometimes return to an area to try to burgle a nearby home that they spotted while committing a previous break in. Even more reason for you to ensure you keep your home as safe as houses
Leaving your home checklist
Whenever you go out, it’s important to leave your home secure. Getting into an ‘exit routine’ can help ensure that you don’t forget obvious, but important things, like not leaving your valuables near windows, or no lights on if it will be dark before you get home. Here’s our quick reminder on what to do just before you go out.
Become a creature of habit
Try to get into the habit of following your own course of action when you lock up your home. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything. Here’s what we recommend you do before you go out:
•close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you’re only going out for a few minutes
•double-lock any door
•make sure that any valuables are out of sight
•keep handbags away from the letterbox or cat flap and hide all keys including car keys, as a thief could hook keys or valuables through even a small opening
•never leave car documents or ID in obvious places such as kitchens or hallways
•in the evening, shut the curtains and leave lights on
•if you’re out all day, then it’s advisable to use a timer device to automatically turn lights and a radio on at night
•set your burglar alarm
•make sure the side gate is locked
•lock your shed or garage
•lock your bike inside a secure shed or garage, to a robust fitting bolted to the ground or wall, like a ground anchor
Here are five tips to help you keep your home and belongings stay safe while you’re away:
1.if you’re off on holiday and wish to post anything on social media, make sure your posts aren’t public and that they’re only seen by your friends
2.leave lights and a radio on a timer to make the property appear occupied
3.get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property or join a Neighbourhood or resident Watch Scheme
4.consider asking your neighbours to close curtains after dark and to park on your drive
5.Remember to cancel newspaper and milk deliveries.
Personal fraud and how to prevent it
In recent weeks we have had a few calls from people who have handed over money to individual they don’t know, who have given them a sob story that they have lost the wallet or purse and they need to pay their shopping bill. They tell them they will pay them back the next day and when the victim goes to collect the money back they are not there and no one knows that individual. These are being investigated, if anyone has any further information please make sure they are reported.
What is fraud?
Fraud is when a person lies to you, or ‘scams’ you, to gain an advantage, such as taking your money or learning private information about you. This could be via email, text, and phone or in person, either on the street or on your doorstep. Some adults may be especially vulnerable to fraud and financial abuse. If you’re concerned about someone you know, contact your local social services and ask for Adult Social Care.
With a little knowledge you can protect yourself from fraudsters too:
For more information and help and to report fraud, go to Action Fraud External Link, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre.
Ten golden rules to prevent fraud
Remember these ten golden rules to help you prevent fraud and beat the scammers.
1.Be suspicious of all ‘too good to be true’ offers and deals. There are no guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes.
2.Don’t agree to offers or deals immediately. Insist on time to get independent or legal advice before making a decision.
3.Don’t hand over money or sign anything until you’ve checked someone’s credentials and their company’s.
4.Never send money to anyone you don’t know or trust, whether in the UK or abroad, or use methods of payment you’re not comfortable with.
5.Never give banking or personal details to anyone you don’t know or trust. This information is valuable so make sure you protect it.
6.Always log on to a website directly rather than clicking on links in an email.
7.Don’t just rely on glowing testimonials. Find solid, independent evidence of a company’s success.
8.Always get independent or legal advice if an offer involves money, time or commitment.
9.If you spot a scam or have been scammed, report it and get help. Contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at Action Fraud External Link. Call us on 101 if you know the suspect or they’re still in the area. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our text phone service on 18001 101.
10.Don’t be embarrassed about reporting a scam. Because the scammers are cunning and clever there’s no shame in being deceived. By reporting it, you'll make it more difficult for them to deceive others.
Get help or report a scam
Reporting crime, including fraud, is important. If you don’t tell the authorities, how do they know it’s happened and how can they do anything about it? Remember that if you’re a victim of a scam or an attempted scam, however minor, there may be hundreds or thousands of others in a similar position. Your information may form part of one big jigsaw and be vital to completing the picture.
I look forward to seeing in and around the community.
Kate Richards PCSO 46059656
Community Safety Unit| Ashford Police Station | East Division