Protect yourself against car crime

Tips to keep your car safe

Following 3 simple steps (leave your car locked, well-lit, and empty) will help to keep your car safe, but there are further steps you could take:

  • Store car ownership information at home, not in your car
  • Secure number plates with anti-theft screws available from car accessory stores
  • Keep your car keys out of sight in your home 
  • Use a Sold Secure www.soldsecure.com approved anti-theft device on your car. You can search for suppliers on www.securedbydesign.com 
  • When parking in a car park, look for a ‘Park Mark’ www.parkmark.co.uk indicating the car park meets recognised security levels 
  • Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels
  • Secure items outside of your vehicle. Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it.

Catalytic Converter theft

Catalytic converters are targeted because of the precious metals that they are made with, namely rhodium, platinum and palladium. Thieves simply cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked car and sell them on to scrap metal dealers. Taller vehicles are more vulnerable as the catalytic converters are easier to access.

To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen you could

  1. Purchase anti-theft products such as Catloc – Sold Secure approved product (find out more about Catloc’s Secured by Design’s Police Preferred Specification here)
  2. Park to restrict access to the underneath of the car
  3. Ask your dealer to weld the catalytic converter to the car
  4. Fit a tilt alarm
  5. Register your converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of

For more information on catalytic converter theft, have a look at this BBC One Inside Out Catalytic Converter Theft video from March 2020.

Keyless car theft

Keyless car theft – also known as relay theft – is relatively simple.  With a relay amplifier and a relay transmitter, a thief can detect whether the car has keyless entry. Working in pairs they identify a house with a car parked nearby and one person stands by the car with a transmitter, while a second waves an amplifier around the perimeter of the house. If the car key is close enough the amplifier will detect its signal, amplify it, and send it to the accomplice’s transmitter.

This transmitter then effectively becomes the key, and tricks the car into thinking the real key is nearby. The thieves can then open the car, get in and drive away.

The whole process can take as little as 60 seconds and can be completed in near silence.

TOP TIPS TO AVOID KEYLESS THEFT

To avoid keyless car theft remember DISTANCE, SIGNAL, STEERING WHEEL.

  • KEEP KEYS A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE CAR: Keeping keys far away from doors and windows. This will minimise the chances a thief will be able to find and amplify the key’s signal and is general good practice.
  • BLOCK  OR TURN OFF THE SIGNAL: Consider purchasing a Faraday pouch to keep your car key in. These pouches contain signal-blocking materials that stop your key transmitting its code, preventing crooks from being able to detect and amplify the signal. Check your manual or speak to your dealer to find out if your key can be switched off
  • STEERING WHEELOCK: Consider using a steering wheel lock, a driveway parking post, or even a wheel clamp

For more information and further tips look at this ‘Keyless could be Carless’ information sheet from West Yorkshire Police

Information for the PCC

Neighbourhood Watch Network

1.            Introduction

1.1          Neighbourhood Watch is the largest crime prevention volunteer organisation in England and Wales with over 2.3m members and 90,000 street coordinators, with a well-known and trusted brand which is recognised by 95% of the population. Volunteers are supported locally in most police force areas by a sustainable infrastructure of Force Area or Borough Associations and nationally by a small, dedicated Central Support Team within the Neighbourhood Network (NWN) charity who provide volunteer training, share effective practice, and develop and share crime prevention toolkits, campaign material and other resources.

1.2          The primary aim of Neighbourhood Watch is to reduce crime and fear of crime by working in partnership with the police, councils, local partners and community groups on crime prevention initiatives. Volunteers also share crime prevention advice and help neighbours to act upon it, thereby building communities that are more resilient against crime. We focus on sustainable and impactful outcomes, giving our volunteers the tools and support to be active in their neighbourhoods, connect with one another and work together with their community members to make committing crimes in their area more difficult. 

2.            Crime Prevention

                Many of our volunteers have received training, either from their local police force, partners or from NWN, to equip them to actively implement and share knowledge of specific crime prevention techniques to complement the activity of neighbourhood policing teams. While historically the focus of local groups has been on neighbourhood crimes such as car crime, anti-social behaviour, burglary and fraud, Neighbourhood Watch also has a role in supporting the identification and reporting of hidden and high harm crimes affecting neighbourhoods. There are a range of toolkits on the Our Watch website providing information and resources to assist local Neighbourhood Watch groups to raise community awareness of the signs and symptoms of these crimes and how to report concerns. https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/crime-prevention/crime-types

3.            Resilient communities, long-lasting impact 

                Neighbourhood Watch is about connecting neighbours, enabling them to set up self-supporting networks through Neighbourhood Watch schemes and other models of local engagement. Although crime occurrences are a key factor for neighbours starting or joining a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, the activity of Neighbourhood Watch groups also increases community spirit and neighbourliness, leading to more resilient, cohesive communities that can better face future challenges, as evidenced during the Covid-19 response.

4.            Volunteer base 

Our strongest asset is our committed, engaged and motivated hyperlocal volunteers who have links into their community and partner organisations. There are very few parts of England and Wales where Neighbourhood Watch does not have a presence or reach. Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences, bringing with them a range of skills. They share crime prevention advice and good practice with their communities and between themselves and act as a catalyst for community action to address local issues affecting their community. We equip our volunteers with the tools, training and opportunities to connect with their neighbours, partners and other local groups to enable them to become active within their communities

Many participate on local and national Working Groups to identify how NW can help tackle issues such as Rural Crime and County Lines with relevant partner agencies. NWN helps share that knowledge through our website, monthly newsletters, social media and other communication channels and provides tried and tested, evidenced-based solutions across England and Wales. 

5.            Evidence-based flexible approach 

Neighbourhood Watch is flexible and adaptable to the needs and characteristics of local communities. We employ measurement tools and commission research to identify what works and any challenges Neighbourhood Watch is facing to assess our impact, learn from experience and support our local areas to make improvements.

6.            Neighbourhood Watch Crime and Community Survey

National results from the Neighbourhood Watch Crime and Community Survey 2020 which received more than 32,000 responses from both NW members and non-members, show that members of Neighbourhood Watch consistently feel safer and more connected within their community. Headlines results show that-:

•       Those who live in a Neighbourhood Watch area are more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their personal safety than those who don’t (59% vs 45%) with NW members in those areas more likely to be satisfied with their personal safety than non-members (63% vs 45%).

•       Those living in a Neighbourhood Watch area less likely to say that crime has increased than those who don’t (32% vs 43%). Neighbourhood Watch members living in those areas are even less likely to think that crime has increased (28%), and significantly more likely to think crime has decreased or remained stable (62% vs 42%).

•       Neighbourhood Watch members are more likely to agree that they feel part of the neighbourhood than non-members (87% vs 75%) and are much more likely than non-members to very strongly agree that they feel part of the neighbourhood (47% vs 29%).

•       Both members and non-members are likely to act on crime prevention advice they receive from Neighbourhood Watch, with 91% of Neighbourhood Watch members and 83% of non-members usually or sometimes acting on that advice.

The national and regional reports can be accessed here:-

7.            Impact

NWN published our first Impact Report in 2020 outlining our achievements, locally and nationally, alongside data and case studies highlighting the impact these have had on reducing local crime and improving community well-being.

8.            Projects

8.1          We are in the process of rolling out fraud prevention and support initiatives. The Communities that Care project is very much targeted at hyperlocal implementation – neighbours helping neighbours – and covers all fraud types, while the Cyberhood Watch Ambassadors programme focuses on cybercrime and is a more strategic role, including acting as a local spokesperson for community led cybercrime prevention.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/communities-that-care

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/attend-event/cyberhood-watch-initiative

8.2          We have recently introduced the role of Community Champion to give an additional option to those who wish to support crime prevention and community work in their local area, as an add on or alternative to the traditional Neighbourhood Watch street coordinator role. We are trialling this role currently in the London Boroughs of Newham and Lewisham and in N Yorkshire with a view to rolling it out more widely if it proves successful.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/community-champions

8.3          Our acceleration projects in Middlesborough, Anglesey, Norwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and the West Midlands are testing ways of diversifying the way that NW communicates and interacts with communities in high crime areas and with students and other young people. Working closely with Community Organisers, local Councillors, PCCs and residents, the projects involve listening campaigns with local residents, actively recruiting and training volunteer community organisers, building community frameworks, student surveys, co-development of a young people’s project with young people and working within areas of deprivation with hard to reach communities. The project reports will be available in February 2021.

9.            Campaigns

9.1          Over the past 12 months NWN has been running our own bespoke campaigns on aspects of crime prevention, targeted at either specific demographics at most risk of the particular crime type and/or areas where the crime type is most prevalent. We are planning our next campaign on vehicle crime in March 21 and will focus on Cybercrime in June 21 during National Neighbourhood Watch week. Going forward we plan to run at least 3 crime prevention campaigns per year.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/protect-your-paw0rd

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/safety-neighbours-campaign

9.2          Our annual Neighbour of the Year award, run in conjunction with the Coop Insurance is gaining in popularity and featured on the One Show this year. We have now extended it to include a Young Neighbour of the Year, as well as continuing with the regional Neighbour of the Year awards.

10.          Covid 19 support

In addition to sharing information and prevention advice about the scams that are being perpetrated in relation to Covid-19, we have also been collecting and sharing local stories about the support that Neighbourhood Watch groups have been giving to their communities during the pandemic and running campaigns to thank all the volunteers who have worked so hard to help people out and encouraging communities to stay connected with our Calling Tree campaign.

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/thank-you-volunteering

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/get-involved/support-campaign/calling-tree

https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/news/neighbourhood-watch-response-covid-19/covid-19-community-response-stories

11.          Strategic Development Coordinator

Devon and Cornwall’s PCC has funded a specific role to support the development of NW across the force area over an initial 2 year period. This role sits within Devon and Cornwall Community Watch Association and has strong links to NWN as we manage the finances and HR function related to the role. It has proved really successful in advancing the development of community crime prevention through NW and other Watch schemes in the two counties and has attracted interest from some other police forces. The OPCC has now extended the remit and funding of the post to include support for implementation of some of the Safer Streets work across the force area.

12.          The Future of Neighbourhood Watch

A new 5 year strategy for the development of Neighbourhood Watch across England and Wales has recently been published. The strategy outlines our aspiration to build on our current strengths to become: –

  • The authoritative voice on community-based crime prevention
  • The most popular gateway for citizens to engage in their locality and
  • A recognised contributor to community health and wellbeing

The full Neighbourhood Watch Strategy 2020/2025 can be read here

The neighbour you get to know

  • is less likely to get involved with criminals
  • is less likely to be exploited by criminals
  • is probably less paranoid
  • will help improve community safety

Community anonymity can help produce paranoia in people, so that school children for example may believe those who tell them they need knives to protect themselves because there is danger around. That myth can be broken down by simply talking to neighbours and this connection produces a greater feeling of security in people and also children.

Saying Hello can bring so many advantages like

  • community cohesion
  • harmonious relationships
  • helping each other out and that in turn can lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint because if neighbours who know each other can help each other out, they all need to purchase less and throw less away.

Isolated people are more likely to fall victim to scammers of all kind. Scammers collect money from people, which avoids taxation. Every penny spent on a scammer is a penny less for our NHS, our schools and our police services.

Criminals target lonely, vulnerable people to use their homes to store drugs, weapons, as base for heists, storing explosives.
If they see that neighbours talk to each other, they would not bother invading your community. Every property used by criminals makes our communities weaker.

We want our co-ordinators to get to know their neighbours. Start a watch in your block, your street and once you got to know those neighbours, start to get to know other co-ordinators and combine efforts, run events and make your community stronger.

Apply for membership in the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association

Fake job listings scam

Criminals are using the potential rise in unemployment as an opportunity to advertise fake job listings that require little skills or qualifications and offer high salaries.

Applicants are generally asked to pay an upfront fee to cover the cost of DBS checks or training programmes for jobs that don’t exist, with job descriptions taken from genuine companies to convince you they’re real.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Make sure you conduct your own due diligence before applying for any jobs and avoid sharing your personal information such as your National Insurance number and passport details unless you’re absolutely certain both the company and role are genuine.

If you’re concerned about a job scam you can report it to a trade association such as the REC, APSCo or TEAM, and to SAFERjobs using their online reporting tool#TakeFive#StopChallengeProtect

Cybercrime survey

We want to invite you to take part in the latest survey about cybercrime.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R36YCDR

Your answers will be very helpful in enabling us to understand the impact of cybercrime on communities across England and Wales today. It will also help us with the ongoing development of the Cyberhood Watch initiative, and our general response to cybercrime prevention.

The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Your time and support is greatly appreciated Some of you may recall that we ran this survey previously in November last year. We would like to get a sense of how things have changed since then, and how the impact of Covid-19 has had an effect on your online experiences.

There is an optional prize draw of a £50 M&S voucher you can enter at the end, as a thank you for your cooperation.

Real or scam?

Are you aware of the tactics used by criminals to trick you into parting with your money and information?

The creation of spoof websites that imitate those of trusted organisations by using their official branding and logos are used by criminals to obtain your personal and financial information.

These may also include small changes to the website’s URL which can be hard to spot at first. #Protect your money from falling into the hands of criminals by avoiding clicking on links in emails and texts. Instead login to your account directly using a secure webpage or app.

You can also contact an organisation directly using a known email or number for further support.

If you receive a scam email forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk and scam texts to 7726. If a scam text claims to be from your bank, then you should also report it to your bank.

PDS mail scam

** Be aware of this scam confirmed by Royal Mail.**

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a Premium rate number).

DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize. If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £315 for the phone call.If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655.More information here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/…/hoax-email-from-pds…Please share with your friends, family and neighbours.