Crime is not something we should be complacent about. While our neighbourhood is by no means an unsafe place to live, there are basic things that we can all do to help the police and deter criminal activities in our area.
A group of interested local residents have set up a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, the basic principles of which are to provide a forum for residents to get to know the core things that help make our neighbourhood safer and to liaise with the Little Venice Safer Neighbourhood Team. This Team is a unit of the local police set up to work with the local community to aggregate information about suspicious behaviour, look for patterns and launch targeted local initiatives. An example of their work was the recent enhancement of a visible police presence around Warwick Avenue tube station following an increase in the incidence of theft from people leaving the station, and has been effective in reducing that problem.
The Safer Neighbourhoods Team can be contacted on T: 020-87212411, M: 07290 233949, Email: email@example.com and has a website at:
They are keen to receive information on any suspicious behaviour we see in our area, however trivial it may seem – people walking down the street looking into car or house windows, people loitering, etc. They are building a database, can identify patterns and will respond when the situation requires.
There is also a new police short phone number, 101, to call for non-emergency reports of suspect or criminal activity. The emergency number remains 999. For more information on when you should call 101 see the website http://www.police.uk/101/
The police are also providing residents with free ‘Operation Bumblebee’ kits, which contain ultra-violet marker pens. You use them to write on your valuables your name and contact details, the information is not visible in normal light but becomes visible under ultra-violet light. If they are stolen the police can identify the owner when the goods are recovered, which not only enables you to get your belongings back but also helps the police link the criminals to the crime. The packs also contain a sticker you can put on your window showing that your belongings have been marked with these pens, which should be a deterrent to burglars. If you would like to obtain one of these packs e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Safer Neighbourhoods Team direct.
The Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators for the area, who are all local residents, have an e-mail group where they circulate information about any crime-related issues they hear about and think local residents might want to be made aware of. If you would like to receive these e-mails, send an e-mail to email@example.com and you can be put on the mailing list.
For some tips on things you can do to make your home and car less attractive to criminals, see the Crimestoppers website at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/crime-prevention/helping-prevent-crime
Some simple but very effective things you can do include:
- Making sure the entry door to your building closes firmly behind you – some recent burglaries in Warrington Crescent resulted from burglars getting inside the building through an entry door that hadn’t been properly closed. It may even be worth installing a new door closer to make sure the door closes quickly and firmly behind anyone who exits or enters.
- Keeping all accessible windows closed – or if opened, bolted with security bolts that prevent them opening more than a few inches
- Making sure there is nothing left on the seats of your car that would attract the attention of passers-by – phones, CDs, bags.
- If you have a Sat Nav or hands-free kit, make sure all evidence of it is removed from sight. It is even worthwhile cleaning from the windscreen the suction-cup mark
- Taking care when leaving the tube not to have valuable items too obviously on display. The problem earlier this year around Warwick Avenue tube centred around people pulling out their phones when leaving the tube and having them grabbed from them by people on bikes
- Burglars particularly love an unoccupied flat. So it makes sense, if you are going to be away, to make it look like people are still there. One way to do this is to put some of your lamps on timer switches, so that they turn on and off each night automatically. You can get these from Maplin and other electrical good stores for about £5.00, which doesn’t seem a bad investment. Also, tell your neighbours when you are going to be away, and ask them to check in on your flat from time to time.
- Pull your blinds down when you are not at home so people can’t see that the house is unattended
- Keep your valuables away from your front door – it would surprise you to know that burglars will look through the mail slot..
The police tell us that most crime is opportunistic – people see valuables accessible and unattended and try their luck. If you make things difficult for them, they will try their luck somewhere else.