Crime Protection for the over 60’s — Andy Foster – 19 September 2016.

Andy, who is not a police­man, but works for the South Yorkshire Police in the Community Safety Dept. is clearly ded­ic­ated and com­mit­ted to Crime Reduction.

Along with giving talks to the gen­eral public on crime aware­ness, sup­port­ing vic­tims of crime, detect­ing crime and liais­ing with other author­it­ies, he works at the Lifewise Centre at Hellaby, Rotherham, (www.lifewise999.co.uk) where there is a mock up for learn­ing inter­act­ively through real­istic crime scen­arios delivered in a life­like street scene, and where chil­dren are reg­u­lar vis­it­ors to their Crucial Crew events.

Operation Liberal’ has been launched to raise aware­ness of crime among the over-60’s. These include muggings/robberies, rogue traders, fraud/scams, cyber crime, and dis­trac­tion burg­lary. Of all these, Distraction Burglary is the worst, and com­mit­ted mainly by people who travel from a dis­tance. The trauma felt by vic­tims can be dev­ast­at­ing.

Criminals are always on the look-out for oppor­tun­it­ies and signs of home secur­ity lapses. They target the vul­ner­able, the old, the lonely, or dis­abled. Any evid­ence of old folk, like hand­rails and signs, is a giveaway.

Andy gave us inform­a­tion and examples of crimin­al­ity in abund­ance, among which was an example of dis­trac­tion burg­lary on a 92 year old lady. Someone posing as a ‘Water  Board’ Inspector (which no longer exists) who needed access to her prop­erty, enabled a large theft to take place, when she was not look­ing. The solu­tion is to refuse anyone entry, or pre­tend you have a Police Officer in the house, or to use the Yorkshire Water scheme called ‘Helping Hands’ where the house­holder has to ask the inspector for a pass­word.

If it’s a Police Officer at the door, keep the chain on the door, and ask for the collar number, where they are based and who is their boss and then check it out.  Always ask for I.D.

An example of prop­erty repair main­ten­ance was a rogue trader, who offered kindly to replace one roof tile for £50, which ulti­mately became 10 tiles for £500. The work­men then became aggress­ive until they paid up.

The major­ity of rob­ber­ies are com­mit­ted on the  17 to 23 year old. Students who are not street wise, have expens­ive mobile phones, and lead a life which makes them vul­ner­able.

Fraud or Scams can be either by tele­phone, post or inter­net.

Think Jessica’ (www.(thinkjessica.com/marilyns-story) is a cam­paign star­ted by Marilyn Baldwin , Jessica Baldwin’s daugh­ter, in 2007, to raise aware­ness about postal and tele­phone fraud. Criminals brain­wash vul­ner­able people by bom­bard­ing them with offers and psy­cho­lo­gic­ally con­vin­cing them it is true. Telephone hand­sets can have ‘Call Blocker’ built into them and mail can be re-directed. Another tele­phone pref­er­ence system is ‘True Call’ (www.truecall.co.uk), and using an answerphone is another ploy.

Internet fraud can come in many forms such as Romance scams, stolen iden­tit­ies, PayPal scams, bank scams and Microsoft com­puter virus scams.

Charities can be aggress­ive and pester people to commit to Direct Debits, and then sell on the details of con­trib­ut­ors to other char­it­ies who will target cer­tain age groups. If you ask for quotes for insur­ance, for example, your details are sold on to other groups who then bom­bard you with their lit­er­at­ure.

For home secur­ity, alarms which can be set at night are good, and PIR sensors which can dis­tin­guish whether you have a pet  are avail­able. Dogs free to roam in the house are a deterrent, but a nosy neigh­bor is useful. Fake CCTV or alarm boxes are not very effect­ive.          When on hol­i­day it is advis­able to set the alarm, leave some lights to come on with timers, and get your neigh­bor to park in your drive. At Christmas, over­flow­ing bins with evid­ence of recent pur­chases will make crim­in­als target you.  For door locks, there is a Company called ‘’Stay Put’’ (see www.yorkshirehousing.co.uk) which will fit locks very cheaply. TS007 3star anti-snap Euro pro­file cyl­in­der locks are the best for u PVC doors.

Andy had leaf­lets and much inform­a­tion to impart and could easily have con­tin­ued for another hour, but we all appre­ci­ated the insight and reminder of the often ignored dangers around us.

A very worth­while  and enjoy­able morn­ings talk, expertly delivered.