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Brookmans Park and Little Heath
Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Newsletter 3, 2005 -- Winter
by Christel Anslow

Crime Total
Burglary (dwelling) 8
Attempted Burglary (dwelling) 12
Burglary (other) 30
Theft/damage to motor vehicle 10
Assault 6
Burglary - Xmas update

Yes, my friends, Xmas is coming, for you and for everyone, and that will include criminals.

As you are all starting to buy Xmas presents, can I remind everyone to be aware and vigilant. Firstly, do not leave them in display in your car once you have finished your shopping. Once you are at home, leave them in a secure, out of reach and out of sight place. Try not to put the presents under the tree too early, especially if they can easily be seen from the street. Don't tempt thieves by leaving presents on display. To put it simply: Don't encourage window shopping in your own home.

Car crimes

Hertfordshire Police is aware of a spate of burglaries where the main and only objective is to steal car keys of high value, high performance cars. I can not stress enough the importance of garaging your car(s) at all times, even if it is for a short period. Also, if you have an alarm, make sure it covers your garage area, and set the alarm at night time and every time you go out.

If you do not have a garage, think about a steering-wheel lock or a clamp. They are cheap and easy to use. Leave your keys in a safe and secure place. If you want to keep spare keys, the loft is a good place to use.

Identity theft - is that you?

All of us have heard about this type of crime on the TV and radio, but what do we have to look for and how can we protect ourselves?

You might become of victim of identity theft if:

  • You have lost or had stolen important documents such as your passport or driving licence
  • Post expected from your bank has not arrived or you are receiving no post at all
  • Items have appeared on your bank or credit-card statements that you do not recognise
  • You applied for state benefit but are told that you are already claiming
  • You receive bills and invoices addressed to you for goods or services you haven't asked for
  • You have been refused a financial service, such as a credit card or a loan, despite good credit history
  • A mobile-phone contract has been set up in your name without your knowledge
  • You have received letters from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren't yours.
How to protect yourself - security tips
  • Get a copy of your personal credit file from a credit reference agency such as Callcredit plc (www.callcredit.plc.uk), Equifax Plc (www.equifax.co.uk) or Experian Ltd (www.experian.co.uk)
  • When you move house, consider having your post redirected for at least a year
  • Inform your bank, credit-card company and other organisations of your moving
  • If you don't receive your post, contact Royal Mail to see if a redirection has been made on your name.
Credit and debit cards
  • Cancel any lost or stolen credit/debit cards
  • Always keep a note of the emergency numbers you should call
  • Be careful when using your personal information that no one can overhear/see what you do.
Look after your personal documents
  • Keep your personal documents safe; and consider storing valuable financial documents (such as share certificates) with your bank
  • If your passport or driving licence has been lost/stolen, contact immediately the organisation that issued it
  • Don't casually throw away bills, receipts, credit/debit card slips etc. Destroy them instead
  • Check statements as soon as they arrive.
Password tips
  • Never give personal or account details to anyone
  • Be aware that a bank will never contact you to ask you for your personal identification number (PIN) or for a whole security number or password
  • Don't use the same password for more that one account
  • Never use banking passwords on other websites
  • Use unusual passwords (no date of birth or family name, and mix letters with numbers).
If you think that you are a victim
  • Report lost and stolen documents to the organisation that issued them (passport, driving licence)
  • Consider contacting CIFAS -the UK's Fraud Prevention Service (www.cifas.org.uk)
  • Liaise with your bank to be informed of any suspicious transactions
  • Get a copy of your credit files
  • Report the matter to the police.
Motorised scooter or buzzboard - a fast answer

Can I ride a motorised scooter or buzzboard on the road?

When ridden on a public road, these vehicles are regarded as a "motor vehicle" for the purposes of the Section 185(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The legal age to drive this type of vehicle is the same as for a moped, with the rider required to have a provisional licence and have taken the CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) test. Riders must also be wearing an approved crash helmet, have the vehicle taxed, with a valid MOT certificate, valid insurance, proper number plates, brakes, lights and indicator signals.

Remember: the term "road" includes not only a carriageway but also pavements and verges and also any highway, which encompasses footpaths, bridleways and by-ways. It can also include privately-owned roads to which the public have access and has in some cases included car parks.

Note: The original Neighbourhood Watch newsletter included the name Go-ped. This has been changed to Motorised scooter in the section above because Go-ped is a brand name and is not the only maker of motorised scooters.

Contacting the police

In an emergency always dial '999'. The number for all non-emergencies is 0845 33 00 222.

Please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you know anything that might help detect a crime and do call the police if you see anything suspicious.

Christel Anslow


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