Lock, Stop, Chain and Check...to Beat the Bogus Caller
LONDON, March 18 /PRNewswire/ --
....That's the advice from the Home Office today as they launch a campaign to help older people beat distraction burglars.
Celebrities are lining up behind a new campaign to encourage older people to beat bogus callers. Sir Jimmy Young, Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton are just some of the names behind the Lock, Stop, Chain and Check campaign.
The Home Office campaign also has the backing of major national organisations such as Age Concern and Neighbourhood Watch and on board to help ensure people follow the simple steps to doorstep security.
While incidences of distraction burglary (also known as bogus caller crime) are relatively low, this crime can have a devastating effect on its victim's confidence and health. And although older people are less likely to be victims of crime overall, bogus callers often focus on this group believing them to be easy targets. Bogus callers often pose as someone from a utility company or local authority; can be men or women; and can even use children as a cover story.
Assistant Chief Constable Graeme Gerrard, Chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Burglary Reduction Working Group, commented: "Distraction burglary is a particularly disturbing crime as offenders target the most vulnerable within our communities. Reducing all types of domestic burglary is a priority for the Police and we are working hard with other agencies to tackle these crimes."
Veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Young says; "The Lock, Stop, Chain & Check campaign is a great way to get people thinking about keeping their homes safe. I am delighted to be supporting this initiative".
ACC Gerrard added: "We urge the public to take these simple measures and to always report this crime or anyone they suspect is a bogus caller operating in their neighbourhood."
Notes to Editors 1. Distraction burglary is a type of burglary where the 'method of entry' is by trick rather than the typical forced or sneak entry. 2. A Home Office survey of police forces in England and Wales found in 2002-2003, there were 18,664 reported distraction burglaries. However, under-reporting of incidences of bogus caller crime may occur due to the victim feeling too embarrassed, ashamed or frightened to report the crime. 3. An analysis of police records over the 1999-2001 period indicates that victims of distraction burglary are predominantly female (77%), 74% live alone and the average age of the victim is 78 years. 4. Lock, Stop, Chain and Check has the backing of Age Concern, Neighbourhood Watch, Foundations, Friends of the Elderly, Association of Chief Police Officers, Royal British Legion, Community and District Nurses and Gala Bingo. 5. Celebrities backing the campaign include; Sir Jimmy Young, Valerie Singleton, Saeed Jaffrey, Peter Purves, Gloria Hunniford and Terry Wogan. 6. The Home Office set up a Distraction Burglary Taskforce in February 2000. The Taskforce consists of private, statutory and voluntary sector partners and its aim is to tackle distraction burglary and thereby improve the quality of life of vulnerable communities through a co-ordinated national partnership initiative within England and Wales. Simple steps to beat bogus callers 1. LOCK Always keep your back and front door locked even when you are at home or just popping out briefly. 2. STOP If there is someone at your door, stop and think whether you are expecting anyone. Ensure the back door is locked before answering the front door so that nobody can access your house while you are distracted. 3. CHAIN If you decide to open the door, put the door bar or chain on first. Keep the chain on while you talk to the person on the doorstep. When the door is closed, remove the chain in case you need to get out quickly. 4. CHECK If a stranger wants to come in and claims that they are from a utility company, the local authority or any other organisation, always ask for their ID, even if you were expecting them - genuine callers will happily show you ID. Close the door and check the ID carefully. Call the head office if you are still unsure, but use the number from the telephone directory or a recent utility bill, not the one on the card.
Remember, only let a caller in if you are absolutely sure that they are genuine - if in doubt, keep them out!
SOURCE The Home Office
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