October Crime Prevention Blog 3 – Distraction Burglary by Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride

To coincide with national home security month I will be publishing a series of articles, one each week, containing top tips and advice....

... to help keep you, your family, home and belongings safe this winter.

This week I’m going to cover distraction burglary, where a burglar will use a distraction technique (con) to trick their way into your home.

Distraction burglary is devastating for the victims, who are often elderly or vulnerable. Thieves try various methods of conning their way into a home, they are very convincing, and they might state things like: ‘My son has kicked his ball into your garden’, ‘I’ve broken down’, ‘can I use your toilet?’, ‘could I have a glass of water?’ ‘I’m from the Water Board’, ‘I’ve lost my dog’, ‘I’m with the Council’ and so on.

Don’t be tempted to employ workmen who call at your door. They may tempt you with ‘bargain offers’ or say you require building or garden work. Contact a reputable firm (local councils and charities can often assist with recommending approved contractors).

Check on your neighbours, friends and family who might be vulnerable to this type of offence, and offer them these tips, for guarding against people who might be out to con them/you.

• Get in the habit of checking who is at the door before opening it.
• Use a door viewer (spy hole) or shout through the letterbox.
• If you can, go to a window and deal with visitors there, as it’s a lot easier to dismiss unwanted callers from the safety of your home.
• If you decide to open the door – use the chain or a door bar.
• You can verify that someone is calling from a specific organisation by calling them and asking if they have anyone in the area. Asking for ID will give you their details.
• Remember – if you’re not sure – don’t open the door! 
• Don’t keep savings or other large amounts of money in your home - use a bank or building society.  

These thieves, who come in all shapes, ages and sizes, may be male or female, and often work in pairs, whilst one is distracting you; the other is searching through your belongings. Protect yourself and your home – keep burglars out!

Remember – Lock, Chain, Check!

If you have any information about a crime contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.