Author: Johanna Kaschke

Our first public meeting

Since our Charity registration was completed with the Charity Commission, we held our first public meeting with surprising results.

It was refreshing to hear how openly, those attending, discussed their personal, professional and public issues to do with personal and community safety.

Tower Hamlets Community Safety Officer John Fortune and 3 Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhoods Officers and Anne Ambrose, who sits on the Safer Neighbourhood Board, discuss Community Safety at our meeting. As well as No Place for Hate representative Benedicta Dikeocha and Junior Lawyer President Avion Headley all spoke on the issue of Race Hate and equality.

Pictures do not show all those attending. Minutes of the meeting are published here.

We thank all those attending meetings and seeing us at other public events, those who ask questions and want to know more about Neighbourhood Watch.

Then those who come to see us from other areas of London are always very pleased to hear that they can register with any address in Great Britain on the same website Ourwatch and get automatically allocated to their local scheme, area representative and connect to their local borough or force association.

That became especially clear at the recent HARCA event on Teviot estate.

It became clear that publications, which describe OWL as advanced solution for police & communities, are in fact not correct as OWL is not as advanced as it is described on this Council website.

An Ourwatch mapping system, showing both street based watches and a social media cover watch.
  • The most important issue is that the vast majority of crime prevention alerts are sent out via Ourwatch or Neighbourhood Alert to all those registered with those services. I know that from personal experience as I am both registered with OWL and Ourwatch. Those messages sent through Ourwatch reach over 1/4 of the UK population, whilst OWL hardly ever sends out crime alerts and OWL messages reach only a very limited number of recipients. In fact we get more messages on open platform Twitter than from OWL.
  • Watch registration is more advanced on Ourwatch as you actually have a choice to map your watch area to an area of your choice – if available – and you are not forced to accept a whole post code for your watch area but you also have a choice to have several post codes as your watch area and can run more than one watch scheme both on the streets and online. You can register a watch encompassing a street, an estate or only one building.
  • On our version of OWL, there are no co-ordinators listed, whilst on Ourwatch you can create, maintain and develop your own scheme. OWL is available only in a very small area of Britain (a few London boroughs) and doesn’t interconnect with the rest of the national system.

Teviot Summer Festival

A well-organised community festival, which enabled me to open a stall to advertise for Neighbourhood Watch. We already have a Neighbourhood Watch group on the estate and people came to enquire about scams and how to improve their own situation in the place they live.

Crissy Townsend is an outstanding community activist who founded the Teviot Community Action Group
This is I, the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch membership administrator. I also helped visitors from other areas of England with signing up for Neighbourhood Watch, as you can sign up from anywhere in Britain and act within your local community as volunteer.
I was very pleased that Unmesh Desai, from the London Assembly and Councillor Kahar Chowdhury, chair of the Labour group Strategic Development Committee and Cabinet member for Highways and Public Realm posed for pictures and Unmesh also follows us now on Twitter.

A lot of people enquired about signing up for Neighbourhood Watch and I gave out window stickers to help protect people’s dwellings.

Impact report 2021


Following the success of last year’s first-ever Neighbourhood Watch Impact Report, we are delighted to share this year’s Impact Report for 2020/21.

This report builds on last year with data and case studies demonstrating the continued hard work, dedication, and impact of our 90,000 volunteers and 2.3 million household members.
The report demonstrates how we are achieving each of our three ambitions within our 5-year strategy, which we embarked upon last year, namely:

– Being the authoritative voice on community-based crime prevention
– Being the most popular gateway for citizens to engage in their locality
– Being a recognised contributor to community health and wellbeing.
 
In addition to preventing crime and the fear of crime, we have made a significant impact in supporting communities, especially through the Covid-19 challenges. 

As many charities have experienced, we have adapted the way we work and learned new ways to improve our services to serve our communities better. Whilst the restrictions have been relaxed over the Summer, we know we are not yet through these difficult times, and our role within communities is still just as much in demand as it was at the start of the pandemic.

None of the work we do would have been possible without people like you who support the work we do and the values we stand for. We want to thank you for your ongoing, unwavering support.

New stickers

Our post explained that at least 13% of criminals are deterred when seeing Neighbourhood Watch stickers on a property.

We have taken delivery of new Neighbourhood Watch window stickers, which also double up as reminders for Cyberhood Watch.

If used on hard surfaces in-doors, you’ll only see the Cyberhood Watch stickers. They also peel off. Not to be used outside as they are not water proof.

We distribute the stickers at our drop in sessions or meetings. We note who takes the stickers and how many for our own records, so t hat we can measure how useful they are.

ASB Awareness week

19 – 25 July 2021, making Tower Hamlets a safe place for all our residents.

Briefing at Isle of Dogs Police station with Councillor Sirajul Islam

All week police teams, THEOs go through different areas, searching for hidden weapons and drugs and talking to residents, business owners asking how the area can be made safer. We are trying to recruit Neighbouhood Watch members. A list of events is on our calendar.

Pets and heat

What a SCORCHER!

🌞Please take care of your canine companions in this weather.

The majority of them are pretty wearing a parka jacket with all that fur wrapped around them. Can YOU imagine wearing one today?

Don’t even get us started on leaving the dog in the car… ‘not for long’ is ALWAYS too long! 🤭Here’s a couple of reminders on how to keep your dog safe. Please share it, it could save a dog’s life.

Monthly drop-ins

We now run monthly drop-ins. 

23. October 2021 

20. November 2021 

18. December 2021 

15. January 2021

and every third Saturday of each month thereafter

17:00 – 18:00, The Glasshouse, 161 Old Ford Road, London E2 9QB, Map. 

  • Learn how to report crime ASB online using your phone, tablet, computer
  • Speak to police constables
  • apply to become a member of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association
  • Discuss your local watch development
  • order / pickup pre-ordered posters/stickers

31. August 2021, public meeting. See details

For all meeting dates please see the THNWA calendar, which also shows other events like the Knife prevention courses for parents, run by One Housing or Fraud and Cyber crime courses.

Online scams training

Online scams training

Following on from our Alert last week relating to yet another online scam to look out for, I am delighted to invite you to join us in July for a month of weekly online webinars to expose the truths behind scams. 

The webinars are FREE to attend and are open to anyone who would like to know more about scams, the psychology behind scams, prevention and how a fraud case is investigated.

The webinars bring together experts in their field relating to online fraud, a topic which we are all too familiar with and can affect anyone and everyone, as our lives are played out more digitally.

The dates of the webinars and their topics are as follows:

6th July, 5pm
Exploring the psychology behind scams and how scammers are so effective at their crimes
Paul Maskell, Fraud & Cyber Crime Prevention Manager, Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU)

14th July, 5pm
Insights into how a fraud case is investigated and how not to be the next victim 

Ben Hobbs, Detective Sergeant; and Catriona Still, Head of Fraud Prevention & Training, Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU)

23rd July 5pm
Scams awareness training from the Friends Against Scams initiative
The National Trading Standards Scams Team (NTSST)

30th July, 5pm
Don’t get hooked by scammers! What you need to know about flubot and phishing scams
Christopher Budd, Senior Global Threat Communications Manager, Avast

How to book your place
You can click on the links within this message on each of the webinars topics to register your place or you can go to www.ourwatch.org.uk/webinars and click on the webinar that you wish to attend, you can attend all of them if you wish and so make sure that you complete the registration page for each of them.

Vaccine passport scam

Scam emails have been sent impersonating the NHS, regarding applying for a Covid vaccine passport. One had the email subject “We are happy to introduce Digital Coronavirus Passports” the contents is as follows;




Clicking on the “Get Digital Passport” link takes you to a convincing but fake NHS website that asks for personal and payment details. (For a “process fee”)

The website has since been taken down, but to reiterate your vaccination status is obtained FREE through the NHS App, NHS website or via phoning the NHS on 119.

How to get your COVID-19 vaccination status

There are different ways to get your COVID-19 vaccination status:

Get a digital version

You can get a digital version using the NHS App or NHS website. You will need to set up an NHS login to do this.

Digital versions can be downloaded as a pdf or sent to you in an email.

You can get a digital version by:

 Get a paper version
(You can request a letter 5 days after having your 2nd dose of the vaccine.)

  • You can ask for a paper version of your COVID-19 vaccination status to be sent to you in the post.
  • You should get this within 5 working days.

You can get a paper version by:

More information can be found on the gov.uk website;

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad

WhatsApp account compromise

WhatsApp account compromise

Criminals are targeting WhatsApp users, taking over accounts and trying to defraud or hack their friends too.

How the hack works

The criminals abuse the legitimate process of transferring a WhatsApp account from one phone to another.  They use an already compromised account to message the account owner’s contacts. The criminals impersonate the owner of the hacked account and usually claim that they are having problems receiving a six-digit code, and asking if they can send it to the friend instead (or that they have sent it to them by accident) they then request the friend tell them the code or forward it on to them. The code is the WhatsApp verification code for the new victim—by sending it to their friend they are really sending it to the criminal who is then able to transfer the new victims WhatsApp account to the criminal’s phone.

What follows next is normally the criminal impersonating the victim and requesting money from their contacts (usually for an emergency but always on the promise of being repaid) or the criminal will use the compromised account in the same manner as before to hack more and more accounts.

No matter the claim, you should never share your WhatsApp SMS verification code with others, not even friends or family. Sharing codes can cause you to lose your account.

Learn more here: https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/account-and-profile/stolen-accounts/

If you’re unfortunately tricked into sharing your code and lose access to your WhatsApp account, read the instructions below on how to recover your account.

Please note, WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted and messages are stored on your device, so someone accessing your account on another device can’t read your past conversations. But they will be able to read and reply to any new messages you receive and post in any groups you are a member of.

How to protect yourself

  • If you receive a suspicious or unexpected message from a friend or “mutual” on WhatsApp (or any social media), contact them via other means to check the message is genuine.

  • Never share any codes or pin numbers.

  • Set up 2 factor authentication (2FA) It’s quick and easy to set up and adds another layer of security to your account.
    WhatsApps website https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/verification/about-two-step-verification gives a guide on how to turn on 2FA – open WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.

  • Don’t give your login details (email/number & password) to anyone. Only enter your login details on the official website or app.

  • Be extremely weary of sharing your phone number or email address over social media. / Instant messaging.

  • Always double check friend requests or “being added” by contacts and don’t accept them from people you don’t know.

  • Always challenge requests for your information.

How to recover your account;

Sign into WhatsApp with your phone number and verify your phone number by entering the 6-digit code you receive via SMS..

Once you enter the 6-digit SMS code, the individual using your account is automatically logged out.

You might also be asked to provide a two-step verification code. If you don’t know this code, the individual using your account might have enabled two-step verification.

You must wait 7 days before you can sign in without the two-step verification code.  Regardless of whether you know this verification code, the other individual was logged out of your account once you entered the 6-digit SMS code.

More information can be found here; https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/account-and-profile/stolen-accounts/

How to update WhatsApp

You should keep WhatsApp (and any other apps on your smartphone) up to date.

Download software updates as soon as they are available, these are normally security updates which are fixing potential vulnerabilities in the apps software.

Android

Visit the play store, click on menu and choose ‘My apps and games’. Tap update next to the WhatsApp messenger.

iPhone

Visit the app store, click updates and refresh. Tap update next to the WhatsApp messenger

Windows Phone 8.1

Visit the store and select menu. Click on ‘My apps’ and select WhatsApp to update.

Windows Phone 10

Visit the Microsoft store and click on ‘Menu’. Select ‘My Library’ and tap ‘Update’ next to WhatsApp.