With news channels and neighbourhood watch teams reporting on distraction burglaries, homeowners are being warned to be on their guard if unexpected callers turn up at your door this winter.
According to research from the Home Office, over 17,000 distraction burglaries occur every year. This type of burglary involves gaining access to a property under false pretenses.
This can be by either impersonating an authoritative figure (Hertfordshire Constabulary is warning of bogus callers pretending to be from the British Legion), or working in pairs to distract a homeowner while an accomplice gains access to the property through an alternative entry point.
And often, they target the elderly as the more vulnerable group, which can have a devastating effect as victims can lose their confidence and peace of mind.
Taking simple security measures can ensure homeowners don’t become a victim of distraction burglary:
- Lock all your outer doors and windows before answering the front door to someone you don’t know, as burglars can work together, one distracting you at the front door whilst the other sneaks round the back.
- Don’t just open the door; invest in a Digital Door Viewer to see who is there. Today’s digital door viewers have large, clear screens and can be viewed from all angles, allowing vulnerable or elderly users, as well as children, to easily see who is at the door.
- Having CCTV fitted to your home can be an instant sign for the opportunist distraction burglars that they are being recorded and run the risk of being identified.
- Lastly, secure your front door using a chain. Only release the door chain if you are satisfied that the visitor is who they say they are and have provided a proper form of identification to prove the purpose of their visit.
Says Jamie Allam of Amthal Fire & Security: “The message to avoid distraction burglary is really very simple, if you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it. A genuine caller will happily wait outside while you check on them by calling their organisation and or calling a family member or neighbour. A potential burglar will soon get impatient as they realise they could be caught and move on to easier targets.”
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