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This message is dated Wednesday 10th July 2019 - Windsor

Alert message sent 10/07/2019 14:37:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police


This message is dated Wednesday 10th July 2019 for Windsor.
 
AS OUR SUMMER BURGLARY CAMPAIGN STARTED ON THE 1ST JULY - I have copied in below a handout I produced last September, about current burglary techniques and how to carry out an ‘Onion Survey’, to protect yourselves and your property.  When I originally sent it out, it was in 2 parts, but I have joined them together.  It is long - ‘comprehensive’ - store it somewhere for use and to share with neighbours, friends, work colleagues and relatives.  The more people take simple measures to keep themselves safe, the less victims there will be of a horrible crime and it will allow police officers to deal with other matters.
 
I have just been called by PCSO Les Bradfield who covers Windsor East - Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury.  One of his neighbours called him for advice.  They had just received a called from a London Police Station about a possible fraud going on at his bank.  He put the phone down as he thought he had heard about possible courier Fraud Scams and wanted some advice from Les about what he should do.  He did exactly the right thing.  When you pick up the phone, the only thing you say is ‘Hello’.  Scam calls are made by computers abroad, dialling random sets of numbers.  Sometimes it dials a live or real telephone number.  The person in the Scam Call Centre who takes the live call, has no idea who you are, or your phone number, so don’t let them have it.  Listen to what they have to say, without responding.  If it sounds suspicious or unsolicited, simply replace the receiver without saying anything.
 
NEXT:  This is a traditional scam which happened in a supermarket car park in Sunningdale, but it happens all over the place.  Usually as you finish loading your car, someone comes up and says they saw someone bump your car with a shopping trolley - come and examine the damage !!
 
8/7  Monday 11 a.m.  Supermarket Car Park.  This is the usual scam that takes place in this car park regularly, but with a difference.  The aggrieved had finished shopping and had loaded her car, when a man with a foreign accent came up and asked her in the potted plant beside her car was hers and she had forgotten to load it.  She was distracted and said no.  When she got home, she found her purse had been stolen from her handbag on the passenger seat.  Another shopper reported her purse stolen while shopping in the store, but this aggrieved must have had hers at the till, to pay for her shopping.  Please be on your guard from this ‘Distraction Scam’
 
 
CRIME:
WINDSOR:
CENTRAL WINDSOR:
centralwindsorneighbourhoodteam@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
8/7 - 10/7  Monday 5.30 p.m. / Wednesday 7.20 a.m.  A bike locked in the leisure Pool car park, had its handlebars and brake system stolen.
8/7  Monday 6.15 a.m.  Vansittart Road.  We had two reports of an offender walking along the road, trying car door handles.  One of which, was the partner of an aggrieved.  We are really grateful for these types of calls and respond immediately if we have resources.  This is a ‘crime in progress’, so you should phone it through immediately, using 999.  In this case the husband saw a man open the car door of his wife’s car and steal a pair of sunglasses.  The police responded immediately and carried out an area search and found a man who matched the description given.  He also had in his possession a pair of sunglasses matching the description of those stolen.  He was arrested, upon suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle.  Please remember this incident - if you call - we will respond - depending upon the resources available.  Speedy action resulted in an arrest being made - no call - no arrest !
8/7  Monday 3.20 p.m.  Boatyard Car Park, Romney Lock.  CAR ENTERED BY UNKNOWN MEANS - LED torch and a DeWalt jigsaw stolen.  This was captured on CCTV.  The offender is described as white, mid 20s, medium build, brown hair, wearing black trousers a grey hoody covered with a black & grey jacket.  He appeared and then road off on a bike.
9/7  Tuesday 12.10 p.m.  Charles Street.  Car parked behind a charity shop ENTERED BY UNKNOWN MEANS - black backpack containing bank cards etc. stolen.  Immediate use of one car at 12.17 p.m. and 12.28 p.m..  the cards have now been cancelled.
 
ETON & ETON WICK:
NO CRIME TO REPORT.
 
WINDSOR WEST
windsorwestnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
CLEWER, DEDWORTH & OAKLEY GREEN:
8/7  Monday 5.10 p.m.  Epsom House, Paddock close.  Rock thrown at building causing a smashed window.
 
CLEWER EAST & PARK:
NO CRIME TO REPORT.
 
WINDSOR EAST
windsoreastnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
DATCHET, HORTON & WRAYSBURY:
8/7 - 9/7  Monday 6 p.m. / Tuesday 8 a.m.  Dive Centre, Station Road, Datchet.  Electric gate panels removed to gain access, possibly for unauthorised fishing.  CCTV shows a group of about 20 young people on site out of hours, who may have done this.  The management are really concerned that with the hot weather, groups may break in to swim in the lake, which if no-one is on site, could be dangerous.
9/7  Tuesday 7 a.m.  Restaurant, High Street, Wraysbury.  Used cooking oil stolen from the rear of the premises.  There have been several similar incidents over the last 2 weeks.  If you are putting out used oil for collection, please take extra precautions at this time.
 
OLD WINDSOR:
9/7  Tuesday 6.30 p.m. / Wednesday 8.15 a.m.  Church Road.  Section of exhaust stolen from under a car.  The police report does not say, but this was possibly the catalytic converter.
 
 
We are currently experiencing high calls for service on 101. 
 
Please consider using our online reporting system but please note this reporting tool is not for use where a crime happening right now, the suspect is still at the scene, or anyone seriously injured or in immediate danger.
 
https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/
 
Eyes, ears.....and Brain
 
Jeff
Jeffrey.pick@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
 
follow us on Facebook:
 
https://www.facebook.com/TVPWindsorandMaidenhead
 
Over the last few months, Neighbourhood Watch in Windsor, Ascot and Sunningdale, has seen a resurgence in interest and activity.  New schemes have been set up with over 100 new members joining.  We welcome the residents of Cedar Drive, Heather Close, Shrubbs Hill Lane, Dale Lodge Road, Woodend Drive, St Mary’s Hill, Clarence Road, York Road, York Avenue, Bexley Street, Russel Street, Green Lane, Springfield Close, who have joined the Association and are helping make a difference to the community, as a safer place to live. 
 
Go to https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/wsi/watch-schemes-initiatives/neighbourhood-watch/
 
Or
 
https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/
 
and enter your postcode, to find your nearest scheme and join.  Or start one yourself in your street. If one is in existence, but not mapped, it will not show.
 
If that is the case, please log in and map your area, or contact the Scheme Administrator for Windsor, Colin Meads. Pc180f@gmail.com
 
 
BURGLARY HANDOUT
ONION SURVEY:
September 2018

 
As the evenings draw in - everyone needs to think about their security now and actually do something about it, while we have time and warm evenings to get things done.
 
If in the winter, we go to work and our house will be in darkness before we get home, we need to start thinking about and planning:
 
  • Burglar Alarms
  • Security lights,
  • Timers,
  • Fake TVs,
  • Guard Cams and
  • What lights to leave on
 
So that our home looks occupied, even if we are not home.
 
Let’s start:  At your perimeter
 
 Stand at your perimeter - where your property meets the pavement / public area and look at your home.  Look at it, with the eyes of an opportunist thief.  Look for it’s vulnerability.  Are there hidden / secluded areas a thief could use to break in.
  • Can you see a visible burglar alarm ?
  • If you don’t have a burglar alarm, think about putting up a dummy box, which is visible from the road - opportunist thieves know nothing about alarms and generally avoid them - there is always an easier target nearby.
  • If all the other houses in your road show burglar alarms, you will become a target, so install a dummy box, if you cannot afford an alarm.
  • Can you see visible security lights ?  Are they working properly ?  Check when it’s dark, make sure there are not unlit areas, which would allow access to vulnerable areas.
  • Think about replacing one of the front Security lights, with a Guard Cam.  These have an inbuilt hidden HDD colour camera, which records every time the beam is broken.  This is particularly useful at night as anyone filmed on your property will be floodlit.  Standard CCTV only records in very fuzzy black and white.  They range from about £90 - for a simple version which you have to be able to access to remove the memory card, to £250 which sends footage to your mobile phone.
  • Do you have visible CCTV cameras ?  These are not your first security option, but are ‘nice to have’, once you have an alarm.  They will not prevent you home being burgled, but may provide evidence, after the event has taken place.  Our opportunist thieves, are very CCTV savvy - hence their use of hoodies !  If you cannot afford real CCTV, there are really good dummy CCTV cameras available.
  • Is your front area covered in gravel ? This would deter thieves, as it is very noisy in the early hours.
  • Is the front door fully visible / overlooked, by anyone walking past, stopping a thief forcing your front door, or is it obscured by high hedges ?
  • If so, hedges must be cut back to chest height, to allow good surveillance of the property, by passers by / neighbours.
  • Are all front windows secure, with window locks ?
  • Are they under-planted, with prickly plants, such as roses / Pyracantha ?
  • Can you see any side accesses, offering access to the back of the house ?  Are they protected, or give easy access to the back ?  Are there 6ft wooden gates with visible shiny brass locks ?  Metal gates are fine, but do they provide footholds, for someone to climb over ?
  • If there is a handle ? Would that provide a foothold, to climb over ?
  • If there are no visible fastenings / locks on the front, there must be a bolt on the rear, which can be accessed, by reaching over the top !
  • Is there anything above, to prevent a thief from climbing over ?
  • If not, you need to install ‘rickety’ trellis - rickety, so that it does not provide a handhold.  Wooden trellis, because it is rough and really good at scratching hands, providing skin cells for DNA testing.
  • If you have trellis, plant roses / prickly plants through it.
 
NEXT:
Walk onto the property to the front door and do this again:

 
The Front Door:
  • How secure does the front door look ?
  • Does it have 2 shiny well cleaned locks.  One - a Rim-latch, Yale / Chubb type lock, at shoulder height and Two - a BS Standard 5 lever Mortice lock at hip height.  You need two locks, to prevent the door being ‘shouldered’ and forced.
  • Does the door have glass panels ?  Can you see inside ?  Can you perhaps see piles of post, if you are away ?
  • Do you have glass panels / leaded panels either side of the front door ?  Can these be smashed, to provide access to the locks ?  Leaded lights, can easily be prised from the lead and a hand inserted, to open the door, if it is left on the latch.
  • Where is the letterbox ?  If it is halfway down, what can be seen, if an opportunist lifts the flap and looks inside ?  Install ‘draft brushes’, or a letterbox guard.
  • Do you have a spyhole ?  If you do, consider a spyhole camera.  These are now brilliant, battery operated and can send images of anyone at your front door, to your mobile phone.
  • Glass in front doors should be laminate glass, to prevent it being smashed.  If you have leaded lights, install a laminated glass panel, on the back.
  • UPVC front doors must be double locked, even when you are inside the house.  With UPVC doors, it is not enough to simply lift the handle.  That is the equivalent of putting up the latch on a wooden door.
  • Mortice locks, must be locked, every time you leave the house and at night.
  •  
  • Front Windows:
  • What is visible, if you stand outside and look inside, what can you see ?
  • Are there tasty morsels on view ?  Can you see rooms / stairs and internal security.
  • Can you see a rough idea, of the type of valuable items that may be inside.
  • Are the window frames in good condition, or do they look flimsy and easily forced.
  • If you need to leave windows open for ventilation, think about fitting ‘Window Limiters’.  These are easily installed and only permit the window to be open a few inches.
  •  
  • House Numbers / Names
  •  
  • When I do NHW Start up meetings in the winter and it is dark, it is often difficult to find the right house number / name.  In some of our rural areas, we do not have house numbers, only house names.  This makes it doubly difficult.  It gives opportunist thieves, the opportunity to walk up and down driveways, with the obvious excuse, if challenged - ‘I am looking for number 10’ / I am looking for Chez Nous’ !
  •  
  • House names and numbers, must be clearly visible - and lit - when it is dark, at your perimeter, not lit by a dull porch light, on a wall beside the front door, 30 feet from the pavement.  Make sure, no-one has an excuse, to walk up your driveway, unnecessarily.
 
NEXT - we will deal with access to the rear, once inside via a garden gate / side gate.
 
You could easily place a sign on all access points - ‘Beware of the Dog’ ??
 
Once in the Rear Garden, if it is dark:
 
  • They should break security light PIR sensors, turning them on.  If they do go on, do not always assume, it is a fox / cat.  Always go to a window and look.  You may not see anything, but anyone outside, will see you !  That will alert them, to the fact that you are aware that there may be someone out there.
  • If you have CCTV - check it.
  • Our Opportunist Thieves, cannot ‘go equipped’ with anything.  We only have a limited number of opportunist thieves and we generally, know who they are.  If they are seen and stop checked during the early hours, they will be searched.  If they are even carrying a screwdriver, they will be arrested for ‘Going Equipped’.  As a result, when they find a potential target, they look for equipment on site to force entry to the premises - usually - tools from a garden shed.  They will try to force garden sheds open - these are usually made of flimsy wood.  They will look through any window with a torch, to see if there are screwdrivers, garden forks, spades etc.  Any of these items can and have be used, to force rear windows / patio doors.
  • Some of our opportunist thieves - ‘fence hop’.  Once in an easier accessible rear garden, they will fence hop, to another.  Protect the top of fences, with a system such as ‘Prikka Strip’.  Plastic spikes.  If you have cats that walk along the top of fences, you can place it slightly down one side, where it would still catch fingers, if someone tries to climb over.  Its advantage, is that it will not break skin, but will tell a potential offender, that the property is well protected.  You may not use, broken glass or razor wire.  Barbed wire may not be used, below 8 feet.
  • Sheds in gardens must be protected and secured as offenders will look for them, to find tools to use to force entry.  If the hinges are secured with screws, these are often removed, by the opportunist, so that the door opens against the lock and any padlock and chain.  Screws should be replaced, with round headed coach bolts, secured with nuts on the inside.
  • Garden ornaments are also very useful, to throw through patio doors.  These, should be cemented down.
  • There should not be piles of loose rocks / bricks, near the house.
  • Patio doors and windows, are made of ‘toughened’ glass, for safety reasons, as they are large sheets of glass that people tend to fall through.  The glass is exactly the same, as car windscreens and we all know how easily these shatter, when hit by a small stone.  Toughened glass, shatters - silently.  Often a rock from the garden is used, to shatter an area beside the lock, the shatter is pushed out and the opportunist reaches through, to open the door, if a key is left in the lock.
  • Often they will throw something through the door, then simply push the shattered glass out of the frame and walk in.  As this happens silently, it is very rarely heard, even by close neighbours.
  • A wide open access is produced as a result - and - it offers a perfect exit.
  • A burglar alarm, is your greatest protection - hence the advice to have a very visible box on the front of your house, including a dummy box.
  • Be aware, not all burglaries take place in the dark, though they will increase, as we head towards darker evenings.  Often they take in daylight.
  • Thieves do judge houses by the car on the driveway - or the lack of a car on the driveway, with any gate left open.
  • Peak times are 8.30 - 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. - 5.30 p.m. when houses are potentially empty.  One partner at work, the other, on the school / nursery run.  Later of course it is afternoons, when again houses are likely to be empty for the same reason, or the early hours, when we are in bed.
 
Burglar Alarms:
  • Burglar Alarms.  Come in two types - ‘Sounding’ and ‘Monitored’.  If you live in the centre of a town with neighbours, a sounding alarm is fine.  If you live apart from neighbours, or in a rural / remote location, where a sounding alarm may not be heard, or it would take some time for the police to attend, you will need a monitored alarm.
  • Newer ‘Sounding’ alarms, do not sound in the street, but inside the house.  This is deliberate.  The sound, which is very loud in a confined space, makes it almost impossible, to stay inside.
  • Both ‘Sounding’ and ‘monitored’ alarms need two pieces of evidence, to guarantee a police response.  1.  That the alarm is sounding and 2 a supporting piece of evidence that it is currently, a crime in progress.  A noise inside / torchlight / a shadow at a window, will suffice.
  • Even if the alarm is monitored, the same rule applies.  The monitoring company, will receive an alert on their screens that an external sensor has been triggered.  They will then wait to call the police, until an internal sensor, is also triggered.
  • All modern alarms are now pet sensitive.  In the past they were not and people did not set them, to allow their pets, free range of the house at night.  Opportunist thieves, would therefore look for evidence of a pet - a dog / cat flap, a pet toy in the garden etc.  If they saw evidence of a pet, they would smash a window and reach inside, to see if the alarm had been set.  If it was, they made off immediately, if not, they would proceed.  The alarms now measure the body height / weight of whatever triggered the alarm.  It also measures the space above and below the animal, if it jumps to human height.
  • Sensors can now be placed opposite windows, which are potential targets.  In the past, reflections were a problem, but this issue has been overcome.
  • Modern alarms are very simple to operate.  They no longer have complicated zones and appropriate PIN codes.  They are still zoned, but are fobbed, on and off.  If you go upstairs to bed, the ground floor zone must be set at night.  I hear at meetings, that alarms cannot be set, because there are children in the house, who may wander around at night.  They must be taught that for security purposes, this is not possible.
  • You never go into your, or a neighbour’s house, if the alarm is sounding.  You must never put yourself at risk.  Call us, give us as much information as possible, and wait for us to attend.
  • Sounding alarms, may only sound, for a maximum of 20 minutes.  Longer than that, it becomes a public nuisance.  Residents can then phone the Borough Environmental services, who will come out and knock the box off the wall - and charge the householder a huge sum, for doing so !
  • What do you do if you are at home, in bed and your ground floor alarm is triggered / sounds ?  Again, you do not put yourself at risk by going to investigate.  Put on the lights, turn up a radio, put a chair against the door make as much noise as possible, to alert the intruder that you are aware of their presence and phone the police using 999 - a crime in progress.  Again, you do not go downstairs to investigate and put yourself at risk.  You could shout that you are releasing a vicious dog, so anyone there, should leave immediately !  If this happens, offenders always leave and we have not had a case, of them staying.
  • Whenever you go out, the alarm must be set, and both locks on your front door, double locked !
 
Who, is carrying out burglaries in RBWM ?
 
We have no ‘Burglars’ in RBWM.  What we have, are ‘Opportunist Thieves’.
 
  • ‘Burglars’, specifically target someone, for items they know, to be in the house.  You will not therefore be targeted, unless you have collections, of valuable porcelain, paintings, silver, clocks, watches, antiques, jewellery etc.  A ‘Burglar’, can bypass alarms, but will target you, for the one or two, most valuable items.  They will already have a buyer, for whatever it is, they steal.
 
  • The rest of us, will be targeted, by an ‘Opportunist Thief’.  That gives us, an advantage.  If we have an alarm, which we set, (dummy box if not), well polished door locks and obvious evidence, of good security - and we don’t make a mistake - (leaving a rear door unlocked, a window open, a pile of post visible through a glass door, bins left out on bin-day after the collection has taken place etc.), it is very unlikely, we will be targeted.  Opportunist Thieves always look for the easiest option and it doesn’t take a lot, to dissuade them, so that they move on, looking for an easier target.  Whenever you leave your house, take a quick look back - does it all ‘look’ secure, have you left something, which might indicate it is an easy target ?
  • If it is dark, have you left lights on ?  Which lights ?  On a normal night when your house is occupied - go outside and take a look.  That is how your house must look, whenever it is dark and you are not at home.  Use a Fake TV, in an upstairs front facing room and a radio, left on a talk radio station.  If they lift and listen through the letterbox, they can hear voices.  The Fake TV shows movement in the house and even flickers around drawn curtains. - it implies, the house is occupied and the owners are up, watching TV.
 
  • Generally, if we don’t make a mistake, we will be safe.  It is amazing how often I hear - ‘That was the first time they had ever………….. and that was the day, they were burgled !
 
NEXT: Climbers:
 
Burglaries involving climbing, are really rare - unless - they can see an upper window left open, beside a flat roof extension / garage / porch.  Our opportunists, are generally, young, small and agile.  If you leave a small transom window open for ventilation in an upstairs bathroom, they can climb through.  If you do leave windows open for ventilation, take a look from the outside.  Is that open window, visible from the pavement / road ?  Could someone climb up and get through ?
 
Once inside:
 
  • Once inside, an Opportunist Thief, will only be in your house, for a maximum of 5 minutes.
 
  • The first minute, is spent finding a way out, in case you return.  If they came in through a broken window, they will be looking for keys left in doors / cupboards /drawers, to open a door, preferably a back door / patio door, to be able to get out quickly.
  • If they climbed in through a smashed window, we want them to have to climb back out, through that window nervously at speed, increasing the chances they will cut themselves and we will have blood to analyse for DNA.  That is why they are looking for keys.
  • If you have a wooden front door, they will put on the door chain.  If you return, you won’t be able to get in.  You will be confused and rattle the door, wondering how you put the door chain on.  That is enough notice, for the Opportunist, to leave immediately.  If you come back / they are disturbed, they never stay, but always make off immediately.
  • Once they have established a quick exit, they start to search.  The Opportunist will never have been inside your house before.  They start, upstairs, with the master Bedroom.
  • They begin with any jewellery boxes on dressing tables and whatever, is inside the bedside cabinets.
  • They remove a pillow case from the bed and just start putting things inside.  It is rare for them to search through jewellery, they don’t have time, unless they know the owner will not return, in which case, they tip it out onto the bed and search through, for the most valuable, real looking items.
  • As a result, nothing of value, must be left in either of these places.  You know your house best and where you could hide something, which would take the Opportunist, more than 5 minutes to find.
  • You may have a loose floorboard under a rug, a kickboard in the kitchen which can easily be removed, something only you, know about.  My aunt, had full length curtains in her living room and attached a pocket on the back, made of the same lining material and dropped her jewellery in that.  No-one, would ever have found it.
  • If you do hide your jewellery / valuables, you must tell someone you trust, in case something happens to you !  AND - you must remember where you have hidden it !!!!
  • Next, they will check out wardrobes and suitcases, on top.  Many people, have had safes built into the base of wardrobes, as the depth is suitable, to take a safe.  Thieves know this.  A safe, is only as secure, as the material into which it is set.  Wardrobes, are generally made of MDF and safes, can be levered out.  If you have a safe, it must be properly imbedded - and no-one, must know, you have one.
  • We have had leather jackets, designer clothes, handbags and shoes stolen, as well as valuable perfumes / after shaves.
  • Asian 22 / 24 carat gold wedding jewellery, is a real problem.  Generally it is only removed from banks and kept in the house, when there is a wedding or other big event.  These are usually well publicised, so people know it will be there.  Houses, are not built to have such valuable items inside occasionally, for short periods, securely.  If it is in the home for a few days, it must be really well secured.
  • Chests of drawers, will be searched.  The opportunist starts with the bottom drawers first and throws the contents across the room.  Underwear and clothes will float across the room, jewellery, watches, money and valuables, will make a noise, separate out and be easily found.  Always remember - the thief is not cleaning up and doesn’t care how much mess they make, their only priority, is speed.
  • Separate out your jewellery.  Keep to hand, what you wear all the time.  Costume jewellery can be left out.  Rarely worn valuable items and most importantly, sentimental items, must be well secured.  As a general rule, you will never get it back, if it is stolen.  Sentimental items, may have little financial value and cannot be replaced by insurance.  It is often the little value sentimental items, something inherited, given by your children, which causes most concern and insurance money, can never, compensate you for the loss.
  • Hide those items, most carefully.  We generally recommend storing it in the loft, if you don’t need to access it frequently.  In the last year, we have only had about 1 burglary, where the opportunist accessed the loft.  It is a dangerous place for a thief.  If you return, they are trapped.
  • Valuable watches / jewellery, must not be stored, in their presentation boxes, with instructions and receipts.  With these things, they can easily be sold to reputable dealers, who will give them a good price.  Rolexes and other valuable watches, have much less value, if you don’t have the box and it increases the chances that it is stolen.  We record all stolen valuable watches / jewellery, with the ‘Safer Gems’ website, which produces a newsletter, which is circulated to all jewellers.
  • Photographs of jewellery / watches.  A photo of you, at an anniversary dinner, wearing your jewellery, is not sufficient.  If we recover jewellery, you will have to prove, the items belong to you.  Think about, how you would identify your solitaire diamond engagement ring, from the thousands of others out there.  You can easily photograph your jewellery with your mobile phone and email the pictures to yourself, keeping them in your inbox.  Take a photo from above, looking down on the item.  18ct rings for example, do not stay round for very long, as the gold is so soft.  Take off your rings and look.  That shape could, if overlaid against a recovered ring, help identify it, as yours.  Details of the hallmark also helps - that gives the year of manufacture, the assay office and gold content.  Look at the claws.  If you wear rings together for any length of time, one side generally shows evidence of wear / scratches- photograph that unique damage, it will be unique, to your item.
  • If you have ever had any item cleaned, repaired or valued by a jeweller, keep a note of the jeweller and the date.  It may help.  You may not be aware that generally, jewellers photograph most items, when you take them in and write down detailed accurate descriptions.  It is to protect themselves, in case when they give it back, you say it has been scratched / damaged.  They have the photos, to show the condition, when it was brought in.  If watches are repaired, jewellers sometimes mark the inside of the back cover.  So - if you have had your jewellery in a jewellers, ask them, in case they have this detail and good photographs / descriptions, of your items.
  • Think about photographing other valuables, at the same time - it only takes a few minutes.  Make a ‘set up’ and do everything that is valuable and might possibly be stolen.  This would be really useful, in the case of a burglary - but fires do happen and then listing valuable items and proving value, can be a nightmare.
  • Think about a short video on your camera, of all your contents.  Start from your front door and do a video walk through, of all rooms.  It can help after a burglary, as it can sometimes take months, to establish exactly what was taken.  In the case of a fire, it can also be invaluable.
NEXT Bedroom targeted.
  • If you have children, it will be their bedrooms next.  They will have Xboxes, play stations, laptops, video / computer games etc. - even money boxes.
  • Then the thief will start downstairs - having only a few minutes left.  If you have an airing cupboard, the thief will pull everything out, as people hide items between the towels / sheets.
The Ground Floor:
  • The first room targeted, will be the kitchen.  Thieves will empty out all the kitchen cupboards, swiping everything across the room.  Imagine the mess.  They will be looking for tins containing cash / keys.  Fridges and freezers, will also be emptied, as people hide jewellery, amongst the frozen peas.
  • Decorative Boxes on kitchen walls to hold keys !!  These must be removed immediately.  Particularly, if they contain labelled Neighbours’ keys - ‘Mr. Smith at No. 5’, ‘Mrs Jones at No.27’, ‘front door’, ‘back door’, ‘spare car keys’ etc..  All keys, must be hidden, where it will take the thief, more than 5 minutes to find.
  • Car keys, must be particularly protected, particularly, spare car keys.  If the thief finds these, they are likely to take those and your car on the driveway.  They will also, be able to load larger items into the car and drive it away.
  • If the car is not there, having the spare keys, they could return to steal it.  You will have to have the key fobs changed, to prevent this.  That is an expensive business.
NEXT Room.
  • Is your study, or the place you keep paperwork.  They want - cheque books, pension books, building society / credit card / bank account, statements - passports - anything that can provide evidence, to steal your identity.  These items are really difficult to hide, as often there is a lot of it and it is bulky.  Perhaps, there is a way of storing and hiding it, in a garage / basement / loft.
  • Old documentation:  It is not always necessary to shred it, when disposing of it, but it must be torn into pieces, to prevent anyone using those documents, to create bank accounts, or make other fraudulent transactions.
  • The Opportunist Thief, will not be doing this, but they will know someone, willing to buy these items from them.  Identity theft is massive.  Don’t make it easy.
Last room.
  • Will be the living / sitting room.  Often, people have valuable items on display.  They will fill up the pillowcase / or a sports bag / backpack - with whatever, they can pick up.
  • Often, they will put the items stolen, into a plastic supermarket bag, to keep them dry and hide them near the property - perhaps in a hedge, or behind those roadside electrical boxes, for collection later.  You may have returned and called the police, who will be carrying out an ‘Area Search’, for anyone looking suspicious and the thief cannot be caught with anything on them, which could tie them, to the burglary.
  • Thieves often carry a stamped, addressed, padded envelopes.  They put jewellery in them and simply drop them into the nearest letterbox.  If they are stop checked, they will have nothing on them.
  • Thieves generally won’t travel to burglaries, in their own cars - someone may not the car index of a suspicious car parked up.  They chose to travel around, using public transport.  It is safer, to come and go on a bus, where they are unlikely, to be stopped and searched.
Call the police if you see anything out of the ordinary / suspicious.  You may not know exactly what you have seen, but something, drew your attention.  Rely on your instincts, they are there for a purpose, to protect you and our brains, are really good at doing that.  Just go online at the TVP website and fill in an intelligence report - information that we may find useful.  We had a case several years ago, where our Area Co-ordinator in Maidenhead, was walking home and a car sped out of a side road.  He thought it was so suspicious, he wrote down the index on his hand and when he got home, phoned it through to the police.  We looked it up and said thank you, but it didn’t appear to relate to anything.  Several hours later, the owner of a house in that road returned home, found they had been burgled and phoned the police !  We already had the index of a car, which may have been involved - brilliant !
 
Please remember, You will not have been watched and personally targeted.  You were burgled, because an opportunist thief, walked along your road and you were the easiest target, because you had made a mistake and left a window open, a side access unprotected.  Very easy things to rectify.  We can all do more, to protect ourselves, our property and our families, but we need to be aware of how these opportunists function and chose targets and know what to do first, as a priority
 
 
Jeffrey Pick
Community Engagement & Resilience Officer
 
 
If you want more information / advice please contact
 
jeffrey.pick@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

 
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Jeffrey Pick (Police, Community Engagement & Resilience Officer, Windsor & Maidenhead LPA)

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