Neighbourhood Watch Oct. - Dec. 2004
Monday 27th December 2004 until Friday 8th January 2005
One of your biggest issues is that of untaxed motor vehicles. Your attitude is that if I have to pay mine why shouldnt they pay theirs? Well, Essex is now part of DVLCs scheme of reporting these vehicles by phone. I have now spoken to DVLA and confirmed that these postcoded areas are within this scheme: - CM, SS, CO, IG and RM. This should include all the areas that these newsletters cover. You will need some information for this report. The type of vehicle, its colour, its location (and please, dont forget that the operator taking your call is not local so outside Freds house will not be enough for a location) and any clues to who might own it. The number you ring is 0800-032-5202. You can, of course, do this on the internet as well.
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH GROUPS
Whether you belong to a Neighbourhood Watch group or not, watching out for your neighbours is something that we do without question and the question of your security and welfare is an issue that should be very important to you. Neighbourhood Watch schemes are a method of developing close liaisons between households in a neighbourhood, the local police and the local authority. The aim is to help people protect themselves and their properties, to reduce the fear of crime and improve their local environment by improving their security and greater vigilance. Each scheme is a community initiative which is supported by the police but not run by them. Success depends on what the members make of a scheme but it does give people the chance to get to know and help each other, particularly the vulnerable.
For many of you, Neighbourhood Watch Group Newsletters from the Mobile Police Station are something that you receive every fourteen days but for many more of you, and especially those in the Brentwood area, your only link with this vehicle and its newsletters are through local Village Magazines.
So, as part of your New Year Resolution for 2005, why not start your own Neighbourhood watch group? If you are interested then please just call in and speak to me and we will find a suitable way forward. It only costs a small amount of your time but the benefits are numerous, the best one of course is meeting me!! So come on, the timetable is on the reverse of this newsletter. Give it a try.
There have been a few garden sheds broken into recently, lawnmowers being the main target. Garden Sheds are difficult to lock and bolt but it is worth the effort. Consider ways of making them more secure, thieves use garden tools that they either find in insecure sheds or just laying about the garden to force their way past patio doors and windows. If you want help and advice then please come and chat with me.
Monday 13th December until Friday 24th December 2004
MOTOR VEHICLES I have been approached recently by people who have bought motor vehicles without logbooks. These vehicles have either been purchased from the roadside or the local public house. The chances are that vehicles sold without logbooks will have loads of problems attached to them and there is a good chance that they are stolen. One person in particular who did buy a vehicle in his local pub found that the true owner of his number plates lived in the Midlands. That experience cost him a lot of money. Whilst on the subject of motor vehicles, selling them also has its dangers. Don’t give possible buyers the vehicle keys and let them test drive it on their own. Not every one is dishonest but you can bet your bottom dollar that the person you give the keys to will be!! Just consider your welfare as well. If you are female or elderly take care who you go with for a test drive. If the buyer has arrived in a vehicle with a friend or two and they wish to follow you on the test drive then don’t do it alone. Consider your welfare at all times. CAMERA IN CAR I have received many thanks for my article on ‘keeping a camera in your vehicle’. It would appear that the camera has had many more uses than I suggested!! My idea was to store one of those throw-away cameras in your vehicle and to use it in case of road accidents but many of you have used it to support other allegations whilst away from your area. I.e. Pot Holes, Damage in Car parks etc. Regardless of ‘The Use’, it is a good idea to carry a throw away type camera in your vehicle. If you are involved in an accident it is also a good idea to take pictures looking away from the scene of the incident as well. You may as well use the whole film and take photographs of other important points i.e. Road Signs etc. It all will help refresh your memory when you fill in your claim form especially if the scene is hundreds of miles from your home. HANDBAGS I have had a good many replies to my recent article on handbags in motor vehicles. Whilst I maintain that handbags should be kept out of view and your car door locked many of you have suggested that you should put the seat belt through the handles of your handbag or put the handles around the handbrake. One lady, who was stationary at traffic lights, with the doors locked, had the side window smashed and her bag stolen from the passenger seat. If you do use the handbrake, please make sure that this does interfere with your use of it. CHRISTMAS BOXES Please enjoy yourselves at Christmas and don’t forget to break up and disguise your empty Christmas Boxes for the dustman.
A MERRY CHRISTMAS
The reality of it all is that this problem is caused by a very small minority and that most of our youngsters are really very well behaved. So, in the great spirit of things I will now wish ALL my readers a Merry Christmas and I hope you get everything you desire!! I particularly wish to thank those that run Neighbourhood Watch Groups and deliver these newsletters. I also wish you all a crime free New Year and dont forget to break up your large Christmas boxes for the dustman. Dont leave them on show for the thieves to see what you have had for Christmas.
Recently, officers were involved in a night time operation around numerous housing estates and they became concerned how easy it was to identify dwellings where the owners were out. Some people had even left their downstairs windows open overnight and some had left their cars unlocked. I know that I go on and on and on but I have seen the effect that burglary can have on the owners. Many people will not live in that house again. One reason being that they believe that once burglars have been in they may return, others cant deal with the thought of strangers going through their personal items. Whatever the reasons, deal with it before it is too late; sort your security out NOW!! We have excellent Crime Reduction Officers; Brentwood has Jody Greenfield and Epping/Ongar has Tony Ellis, or you are welcome to come to see me and discuss these issues.
If you have a dog in the house can I ask you to consider using a guard over your letterbox? Many people, postmen, neighbourhood watch co-coordinators, etc put items through them and there have been the odd case of dogs nipping fingers. This also prevents poles being pushed through to pick up car keys from a nearby table. Thanks.
CALLERS TO THE MOBILE POLICE STATION
A few weeks ago, the station celebrated its 10,000th caller, thanks for using it and please keep it up.
Due to the number of callers at West Horndon, instead of calling twice, on Wednesday and Thursday, it has now been arranged to stay all day Wednesday. This will commence on 22nd December. Ingrave has now moved to Thursday.
One of the biggest complaints I receive is that of Go-Peds. They are either Electrical or Petrol Motorised Scooters that the youngsters use. I have issued many warnings before about these vehicles but just in case someone is thinking of buying one as a Christmas present then, please, re-consider. They are classed as a Motor Vehicle and the owner requires a Driving Licence, Insurance, Crash Helmet; in fact, the rider requires everything that a motor cyclist requires. This also includes the correct age. Under 16 are not allowed. Parents can also be prosecuted for permitting offences i.e. No Driving Licence and penalty points are awarded.
Here is another subject that I go on about and I have as much chance of stopping this as a small chicken has of surviving a tornado but we can but try . That of leaving your car unattended with the engine running. You would not believe the number of people that leave their engine running when they call at their local shop. The problem is about to get worse because when the icy weather starts the vehicle is left to warm up either on the driveway or road outside their house. Last year I challenged one female who left her engine running outside her local shop. She acknowledged that she was silly and stated that she should have known better because her husband had had his car stolen the same way the week before. Car theft goes on from these types of locations all year round; car thieves simply wait outside shops and watch. The other point you must consider is Insurance. You are unlikely to be insured if you lose your vehicle.
Ladies . Please do not leave your handbags on the passenger seat of your vehicle. There have been numerous cases recently when thieves have smashed the vehicle window and removed the handbag. Your world is in that bag dont lose it!!
I must also warn you about the continuation of Creeper Burglary that is when you leave your doors open whilst working in the garden/garage/shed etc. This is normally a summer crime but it has continued into autumn this year. Dont get caught out.
ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ORDERS (ASBOS)
These orders are seen everyday in national newspapers and on television. Tony Ellis, who is Eppings Crime Reduction Officer, issued a recent newsletter explaining how they work. He put this together because the officers responsible for making applications for these orders were expected to seek an order based on one phone call, because an individual, usually a local youth, had become a nuisance.
ASBOs are there to sort out this type of problem but they are not granted lightly by the court who require reasonable evidence against the individual being issuing one. They are most unlikely to grant one on the word of a single person.
There are two main ways of obtaining ASBOs from the court. One is following the conviction of an offender by a court where we can show from his or her previous convictions that the person is a persistent offender who needs to be kept in check.
The second method which is slower . And this is where you come in is to gather information about the individuals behaviour over a period of time from local residents.
This is an example of how that works .
Dave is a 17 year old lad who lives in Chapel Street. He is a real pain. His parents dont seem to have any control over him or simply cant be bothered. Every night Dave is in the street making a nuisance of himself. He shouts and swears at residents. He rides his motor bike up and down the road revving it loudly and disturbing other residents. He damages property and often interferes with cars parked in the street. When he is really playing up, residents call the police but when they turn up Dave has either moved on or acts as though butter wouldnt melt in his mouth. When the police have left he carries on ten times worse than before they arrived.
Dave is obviously a prime candidate for an Anti Social Behaviour Order so how do we go about it? For a start, the police cant do it on their own. They need the residents help. In this case residents would get together to agree they wanted to do something about Daves behaviour. All residents who can keep an eye on Dave (the move the better) would then appoint a spokesperson to speak to their local ASBO officer, either at Brentwood or Ongar, depending on your area. That officer would then issue each resident with A Diary. Each resident would make notes in their diary every time they saw Dave behaving unreasonably. At the end of a period of time, the officer would collect all the diaries in and go through them to decide if he has enough information to apply to the court for an ASBO.
If he has and this is where this legislation comes up trumps the officer can apply for the ASBO on the residents behalf using their diaries without any one of the residents having to attend court or be named. It may be the case that a couple of residents are more prepared to attend the hearing to give their information in person. That would normally serve to strengthen the evidence and the possibility of obtaining an ASBO.
So, why is the process so precise and long winded? Any breach of an ASBO condition makes that individual liable to arrest and subject to a maximum prison sentence of five years. In West Mercia, where numerous ASBOs have been breached, the average sentence for those breaches has been three months imprisonment. In Epping, a recent breach of an ASBO we had obtained resulted in a four month prison sentence.
If the public expects the court to take strong action against a breach, it is only right that the court is certain it is right to issue the ASBO in the first place.
The example that Tony Ellis has outlined is a hypothetical situation which relates to one individual but it could equally be applied to a group of individuals.
As you can see, the Government has geared the legislation in such a way that the community have to work with the police in these situations to curb the anti social behaviour of individuals within their communities.
I mention this subject so early only to give your village magazines the chance to print this prior to Christmas. It is also a subject that I mention every year
A few years ago a burglar was arrested and interviewed. We considered that this burglar was very good at his job because every property he entered he hit the jackpot. He never failed. It took a lot of effort to capture him as well but we were surprised when he told us why he was so good.
After Christmas he would drive around the streets and take note of what empty boxes you would put out for the dustman. If you had a brand new computer for Christmas then you would simply fill that box with rubbish and put it out for collection. This burglar would note what was at your address and then pay you a visit later on. Easy isnt it?
The advice has to be . Break it up and put it in a bag. Yes, it may be a nuisance to you but it has to be worth the effort. Unless you have suffered the pain of a burglary you cant imagine what it is like. I know of some people who refuse to live there again and will move house immediately. Come on you know it makes sense please!!
I know I have mentioned this before but please do check the batteries in the device that allows you to unlock your vehicle. Recently a young mother who had secured her vehicle at the local petrol station was unable to regain entry to her vehicle due to this problem.
Many of you have a telephone system at home that will only allow phone calls through that leave a call back number. I only have a mobile phone and this has a withheld number so when you leave a message asking me to ring back I cant!! Please dont think you have been ignored.
Chris Caten and Allan Perrett
Rural Police Unit
The next Beatmobile visit to Theydon
Bois is on
DARK EVENINGS AND MORNINGS
The evenings are now getting dark so it is a good time of year to consider your security. Just go for a walk up and down your street and count the number of houses that are empty. It is so easy to tell isnt it? and youre not a burglar!! No house lights on, driveway gates open, garage doors open. We make it so easy for them. Most people who suffer from a burglary go out and buy an alarm.
Does your son or daughter do a paper-round? If so, then please make sure that they wear something that can be seen by motorists. Also make sure that they use their cycle lights. Every year I have complaints and concerns made to me about this subject. These youngsters appear from out of the dark without a care in the world!!
SORRY NO TRICK OR TREAT POSTERS
The Guardian Newspaper and the Mobile Police Station have got together in a joint safety campaign to produce a good size window poster declining Trick or Treat callers this year. This is to protect the elderly and vulnerable, to protect unsupervised children and to reduce the risk of trick or treat vandalism. These posters are free and can be collected from the Mobile Police Station at any time. There are a limited number so it is first come .
Parents . Can I ask that you dont allow your children to go Trick or Treating along, organise a party with neighbours and friends and then you should know where they are at all times. Knocking on strangers doors is unwise and could put them at risk. AND Please, dont call on the elderly or other vulnerable people especially those displaying Sorry No Trick or Treat Posters. Thanks.
Many of you have door chains and I know from experience that you keep them on for additional security when you go to bed. A good strong well fitted door chain will delay entry and they are a good idea but do not leave them on at night time. Recently a gent was taken ill during the night and entry was so very difficult. That extra time could have cost him his life. Can I just make the point that these chains should only be used prior to opening the door to a caller. When the door is closed again then remove the chain. If you need further advice then please contact me.
Chris Caten and Allan Perrett
Monday 4th October 2004 Friday 15th October 2004
IDENTITY THEFT BIN DIPPING
Everyday rubbish can offer a wealth of information and a recent survey suggested that the theft of your identity is the fastest growing crime in Britain. A thief who gets hold of your details can take over your bank account. Thanks to the growth in telephone and internet shopping the thief only needs to know your credit/debit card details and judging by the number of you who speak to me about Scams it may well be you who gives these details away. These Scams are very good and a typical call from a person stating he is from the security department at Visa is well thought out and very reassuring. REMEMBER: - Do not part with Pin Numbers or any other personal details, you phone the company back and check from the telephone number on your last statement. Financial institutions should never cold-call you. Burn or shred credit card statements and anything with your personal details on. Give me a call if you are unsure.
Dc MICHEAL PAGE
Whilst on the subject of Books; the Great Injustice saga came to an end recently. For those of you who had been plagued by Stephen Millwards letters; this was not his real name but simply a pen name for his book which is now on the market. Yes, I agree that it is a strange way of doing business, the stamps paper etc must be worth as much as the cost of the book, £3.00, but as he explained to me, he has done nothing illegal!!
Look around your vehicle on your return. Check your vehicle before moving off. It is becoming a growing trend for car thieves to attach a cloth, ribbon to the rear windscreen, or tie a can to your bumper. The idea is that you start the car, drive out of your parking slot and then are forced to stop to remove this item. That is when they strike. The door is open, the keys are in ignition and the engine is running. Good bye car and anything that is in it!! Be warned.
Chris Caten and Allan Perrett
Last Up Dated: 25th November 2004