Not every burglar is easy to spot

22 November 2013

It s not just opportunistic thieves that residents in Norfolk
need to be wary of. Operation RADAR is a highly successful team set
up by the Constabulary to tackle the issue of bogus callers.

Since it began in 2008 the number of distraction burglaries in
the county has plummeted by a whopping 87%, partly due to a focus
around warning potential victims on the types of cons offenders use
to make their way in to homes.

Detective Sergeant Pete Jessop from Operation RADAR highlights
what to look out for saying: “We remain determined to catch those
offenders who are out to exploit vulnerable residents and offer the
following steps to keep you and your friends and family safe.

They most often pose as official callers from a local authority
or utility company, for example “the Gas Board , “the Water Board
or an electricity company, and will claim they need to check for a
leak, read the meter or check electric sockets. Some may also claim
to need assistance, for example need a glass of water or to use the
phone.

Also known as distraction burglars, they can often work in pairs
with one spinning a story to distract the householder at the front
door while their accomplice enters the home to steal.

Bogus callers succeed because they sound believable, so don’t be
fooled.

Make sure in your own mind that they are whom they claim to
be by following these simple steps:

  • Stop, Chain and Check. Think before you open the door – use
    your spy hole, chain or look out of the window to see if you
    recognise them.
  • Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should
    carry an identification card with their photograph on.

    Utilities
    companies now offer a password identification system which means
    any callers from one of these companies should be able to give a
    pre-arranged password as additional proof of identity.

  • Check identity cards carefully. If you are unsure, telephone
    the company the caller claims to represent, (use a number from
    telephone directory and not any number they might give you). Remember, the vast majority of callers to your door will be
    genuine, therefore they will not mind you carrying out checks to
    make sure they are who they say they are.
  • Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that
    they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere
    which may encourage you to leave your house – they may have an
    accomplice awaiting this distraction.
  • If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don’t
    let them in.

    Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a
    friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return or ask
    the caller to contact this person.

  • Treat every stranger with caution.

    If you are still worried,
    dial 999 immediately and ask for the police.

The short film, ‘Burglary.

Don’t make it child’s
play’, broadcast on Norfolk Constabulary s YouTube channel,
illustrates how lax home security can open the door to opportunist
thieves and has already had over 1000 views.

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