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Boost to tackle business crime

Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s approach to tackling business crime across the county has seen a boost with the launch of their new business security survey which business managers and owners can use to evaluate how vulnerable they are to being targeted by burglars.

Most burglars are ‘opportunists’ and break into easy target business premises, but good security and basic precautions significantly reduce the chance of a business being burgled. The quick and simple survey has been designed to encourage businesses to consider the nine most common security considerations used by criminals outside and inside buildings, along with their staff’s knowledge and understanding.

South Cambridgeshire Business Watch Co-ordinator, PCSO Carly Freed said “As many of the businesses I have dealt with have found, the consequences of being targeted by criminals can be much more costly than the obvious damage and goods lost. The costs can extend way beyond the financial loss to demotivated staff, wasted time and often disrupted or lost business and consequently damaged reputation.

“Improving your businesses’ security to a standard that discourages burglars doesn’t have to cost a fortune. As a minimum we recommend making sure your external security is of a high standard as it is your first line of defence against protecting your business from burglars.”

One such business owner who has reaped the benefits of investing in security is James Peck, Managing Director of PX Farms in Dry Drayton. Prior to the additional security improvements PX Farms was typically experiencing 1-2 incidents per week with almost £60,000 of goods stolen over a 12 month period. The majority of incidents were theft of fuel from the agricultural machinery and vehicles, theft of gas cylinders and vehicles, and criminal damage to fencing, many of which couldn’t be claimed for by against their insurance.

Following a security survey from one of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Officers James invested in improving the farm’s security with the installation of additional security measures including:
• Increased CCTV coverage
• Fuel monitoring system
• Restricted access to key areas using a swipe card only access
• Physical barriers such as larger ditches; and
• Improved staff training

Since PX Farms implemented the recommendations and improved their security the number and severity of crimes have significantly reduced to low level crimes such as criminal damage.

This shows how reviewing your businesses’ security and identifying vulnerable points including access control, monitoring equipment (such as lights, CCTV and alarms), physical barriers (such as locks, security gates) and staff training can deter criminals from targeting your business.

You can access the business security survey here, and for further business security advice and the full PX Farms case study visit the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website http://www.cambs.police.uk/GetCloser/BusinessCrime/.

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Catalytic Converter security

Catalytic convertor thefts from delivery vans 

Overnight there have been eight catalytic convertors stolen from delivery vans at a commercial business in Bar Hill, South Cambridgeshire.  A Mercedes Sprinter van at a residential address nearby was also targeted in the same timeframe.

The vehicles targeted appear to be the Ford Ranger and Mercedes Sprinter van

The sprinter van is a very popular fleet van, used by most delivery companies, van hire companies and supermarkets amongst others.

A catalytic converter controls and converts exhaust emissions from your vehicle into less toxic substances. They are being stolen and sold for the re-sale value of the four precious metals from which they are made.

Security advice

  • If you see anyone working under vehicles, and they are acting suspiciously, report it to the police
  • For business fleets, consider good quality, strong perimeter fencing and try defensive parking (If you have a fleet of vehicles, block those with high ground clearance using vehicles with low clearance to obstruct access underneath the vehicle). Install and monitor CCTV and / or compound alarm systems
  • Mark your catalytic converter with a marking and registration system (e.g. www.retainagroup.com ). Alternatively contact your local police team by phoning 101 to find out when the next catalytic converter marking day is taking place in your area
  • Fix a catalytic converter security device (e.g. ‘Cat Clamp Maxx’ available from www.catsafe.org.uk ). Or contact your local garage who may offer bespoke security fittings, such as clamps and cages for catalytic convertors.
  • Contact Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 101 for site specific crime prevention advice

South Cambs Business Watch Officer, Carly Freed said: ‘’you may know your catalytic convertor has been stolen because your vehicle’s engine will sound different.  Vehicles with a high ground clearance such as delivery vans are particularly vulnerable.

A catalytic convertor can be stolen in a matter of seconds and is worth a few hundred pounds in scrap value but the cost to your business can run into the thousands including repairs and business disruption’’.

www.soldsecure.com

www.thecrimepreventionwebsite.com

www.nsi.org.uk

www.securebydesign.com

Operation Oaklands – Shed security video

As Operation Oaklands rolls into its final stage we’ve produced a video with some simple tips on how to keep your shed secure.

Link to video: http://youtu.be/9Kx-MDbAJn8

These are simple crime prevention measures that are very often over looked.

– Use a high quality padlock, and keep it locked!

– Install a simple shed alarm, we are selling units as we move round each village, and can also be bought from around £15 from a popular high street catalogue shop

– Install good quality hinges and internal bolts to add strength to your doors

– Keep tools locked away, they make excellent implements to help break into homes.

– Mark your property with either a permanent marker (this is a good deterrent), a UV pen, or for expensive items it’s worth considering buying smart water (a DNA coding system)

-Record serial and model numbers, we do recover large volumes of stolen items, but often have difficulty reuniting with owner.

Operation Oaklands – Tackling crime in South Cambs

Tomorrow the South Cambs Safer Neighbourhood Team start a 30 day campiagn to reduce burglary and vehicle crime across the district.

This operation will be a campaign rolled out on the streets of our communities to prevent burglaries, shed break-ins and vehicle crime. We will target a community each day, flooding villages and towns with uniform staff to spread our crime prevention message.

Op Oaklands is focused on increasing home and vehicle security and reducing the potential reward for criminals. We are a vast rural community in South Cambs, and our crime patterns do not fit an identifiable pattern, as seen in an urban environment. Crime prevention and intelligent patrol are the key to success.

We will be posting regular information about the opertation and some of the tactics we are using on our Facebook page, twitter account, here on our blog and talking to our ecops and NHW members.

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Officers on the ground will be offering residents shed alarms for just  £7.00 – these are a simple and effective deterrent.

Below are the dates we will be visiting communities over the 30 days. If you would like advice on home, shed or vehicle security and don’t live in the villages listed below, please call 101 and ask to talk with your local PCSO.

Insp James Sutherland

Date

Location

14/12/13

Balsham

15/12/13

Abington

16/12/13

Pampisford

17/12/13

Linton

18/12/13

Fulbourn

19/12/13

Fulbourn (day two due to size)

20/12/13

Waterbeach

21/12/13

Milton

22/12/13

Impington

23/12/13

Cottenham

27/12/13

Longstanton

28/12/13

Willingham

29/12/13

Swavesey

30/12/13

Papworth Everard

02/01/14

Gamlingay

03/01/13

Hardwick

04/01/13

Cambourne

05/01/13

Cambourne (day two due to size)

06/01/13

Comberton

07/01/13

Orwell

08/01/13

Harston

09/01/13

Girton

10/01/13

Foxton

11/01/13

Meldreth

12/01/13

Melbourn

13/01/13

Fowlmere

14/01/13

Duxford

15/01/13

Great Shelford

16/01/13

Great Wilbraham

17/01/13

Teversham

Pedlars – Always check for a certificate.

This week one of my crime prevention visits has been to see a resident who became a victim of theft in his own home. Having been visited by a door step sales person the resident let the male into his house to use the toilet. Sadly the male stole the residents wallet whilst in the house.

Sgt Rogerson wrote an article back in May about door step sales people, pedlars and rogue traders:  http://wp.me/p2IjDj-3v South Cambs has regular visits by groups of so called “Hawkers” selling items like dusters and cloths door to door. Any one doing this must have a licence, and my Police colleagues inform me it’s actually quite rare to find people with any licence at all.

Pedlars sample

I’ve included a picture in this blog post of a sample licence. These look slightly different depending on which Constabulary has granted the certificate, but should all contain the same information and signature of a senior officer. (A certificate is valid anywhere in the UK regardless of the issuing Constabulary).

If you are visited by an unlicensed door step sales person please do not buy from them, and call 101 to alert Police. Trading without a licence is a criminal offence and those caught will be put before the courts by our Police team.

I was able to re-assure the gentleman regarding the frequency of these type of offences as they are quite rare.  The Bobby Scheme also attended at the time of my visit to fit some simple security devices such as door-chains, window and door alarms and a key safe so that regular genuine callers could enter and leave leaving the property secure.  It is often the case that those who are targeted by doorstep callers are more vulnerable due to mobility problems or age, and are more likely to trust someone calling at their doorstep.

Rachel Carr, Crime prevention officer

Waterbeach burglary – Update

As many readers will know we’ve recently made some arrests in relation to some house break-ins.  The local PCSO and I have been inundated with calls and emails from residents wanting to know more about what is going on.

Having looked online at some of the community forums it’s clear that the small number of details we have released have perhaps been misunderstood or incorrectly passed by word of mouth.

The three males that police arrested have been released on police bail with a curfew overnight between 8pm and 8am. The three persons have been bailed whilst detectives continue their enquiries. The law that governs police powers and procedures (The Police and Criminal Evidence Act) allows us 24 hours to hold and question people as a general rule of thumb, although in some circumstances this can be extended by a senior officer or court.  Whilst on bail the on-going enquiries will allow our detectives the best possible chance of securing convictions.

It is vitally important at this early stage of our investigation that we limit information in the public domain so we do not compromise our investigation.

There has also been talk online about naming and shaming people. I must be clear that this would not be useful. It would be unlawful for the Police to do so, and very unhelpful for the public try and name people, as again it could compromise a court case, it might also lead to the wrong people being accused.

It’s easy for me to say “trust us”, however this is what our detectives are trained to do, the reason they specialise and the reason they are currently working hard behind the scenes to put together a strong case to present to the crown prosecution service and the courts.

My team of uniformed officers and the detectives working from Histon CID have and will continue to do everything we can to keep Waterbeach safe whilst we conduct our enquiries and the suspects remain on police bail.

Burglary prevention:

Inevitably, when a crime occurs so close to home it concerns us and makes us think about our own vulnerabilities, so what can you do to target harden your house?

– Mark your property. We have a pile of property from the most recent arrests; mark it up so we can get it back to you. UV pens, permanent markers or smart water, write serial numbers down or even better register items on http://www.immobilise.com

– Install a burglar alarm, proven by studies with criminals to be a deterrent, then make sure you set it!

– Lights: Inside, put them on a timer. Outside, have a motion activated light to the rear of your house, this alerts others if people are moving around in your rear yard or garden. At the front have ambient low level lighting.

– Going away? Get a neighbour to park on your drive, and again lights on timers are a great deterrent.

– Garden tools: make sure you lock tools away. These are often used to break in with.

– Gates and fences, use trellises to make it harder to climb fences. Keep gates locked.

– CCTV can be useful, but more often than not criminals cover up, CCTV can also, in my experience cause more worry as some people make a habit of checking it over and over, worrying about who is walking about.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article, Sgt Paul Rogerson

Heating oil thefts – Invest now to protect your tank

Theft of heating oil has been an issue for rural areas for some time, October onwards is the ‘peak season’ for theft of heating oil as home owners get their supplies for the winter months. Coupled with rises in the cost of fuel; oil has become a much more attractive target for thieves.

We strongly recommend that you take steps now to “target harden” your tank:

Consider the position of the tank can it be viewed easily from the house?  If it is close to a road or pathway it is more at risk.  Think about using prickly, thorny plants to hide the tank from view, traces of blood or ripped clothing may also help to identify the offender.

Be aware of oil levels and check them regularly.  Remote oil level gauge alarms are available and cost between £60 – £85, they will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full.  Some alarms will link to your mobile phone to give you instant updates. For residents who are aged 65yrs or over  the Bobby Scheme now offer Heating Oil Alarms as part of their range.  There is a charge to supply and install the alarm. Call the Bobby Scheme on: 07866 602100

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Use good quality padlocks, and lockable fuel caps a thief will not want to spend a long time trying to attack your tank.  Look for closed shackle padlocks, as they will be more difficult to break.  Look for quality marks and attack tested products (see www.soldsecure.com)

If you have a plastic tank, consider screening it with a barrier according to OFTEC advice any screening hedge or fence/ trellis must be spaced 600mm from the tank or 760mm if it is part of a boundary and no fire barrier is erected. See http://www.oftec.co.uk/consumer/faqs-on-oil-storage-tanks

Other options include a metal cage or grill with lockable access point across the top. A specialist product called ‘Tank guard’ surrounds the tank with a metal enclosure, the sheet metal enclosure has lockable access doors, to allow filling and maintenance plus internal anchorage points fixing it to the concrete base.

tank1

A tank guard costs less than one tank full of oil and will last many years.

CCTV may help to deter thieves if there is very little natural surveillance, before you spend money on equipment make an assessment of your needs.

If you have outside security lighting, ensure that the system works and that the light sensors have been adjusted correctly to detect movement.

Deter thieves from entering your property by using good perimeter security such as good fencing and strong lockable gates.  Maintain boundaries and perimeter fencing/ hedges.

Be vigilant by noting unusual/ out of place vehicle registration numbers, (oil thieves predominantly have used vans or estate vehicles in the past) and report suspicious activity to the Police.

OFTEC also offer advice and guidance to those using and storing oil. Contact www.oftec.org

For information on general alarm and CCTV suppliers go to http://www.nsi.org.uk (list of approved installers)

Rachel Carr, Crime Reduction Officer

URGENT info – Shed burglary victims

To all recent victims of shed burglaries:

Two males were arrested by Hertfordshire Police last week on suspicion of burglary.

Hertfordshire Police executed a warrant in Essex and found a substantial amount of stolen property relating to shed burglaries in Herts, Essex and Cambs.

Some of the property has been positively identified as coming from a series of shed burglaries in Weston Colville in early November.

Hertfordshire Police are holding an open day on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November between 10am and 4pm at Hyde Hall Farm, Buntingford, Herts, SG9 0RU. 

There is an open invitation for any victims of shed/garage/workshop etc burglaries over recent months to attend, with the hope that they can identify any stolen items. If you have been a victim and have not been contacted about the open day then please feel free to attend.

For more information contact Hertfordshire Police on 101 (selecting Herts Police from the menu)

Sgt Paul Rogerson

Burglaries – How to protect your tech.

As you may be aware South Cambs are currently seeing an increase in burglaries. I am investigating some of these burglaries and have noticed that Apple items are some of the most common items to be stolen as thieves are aware of their value.

Some easy steps you can take to make it easier for us to investigate these burglaries is to use a built in application called “Track my iPhone/iPad” which means that should your device be stolen it is possible for you or the Police to login to the system using any computer and potentially track it.

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To do this you need to go to Settings  iCloud – find my iPad/iPhone and enable it. It will ask you to set up an iCloud account. Make sure that only you know your password. The only way for the tracker to be accessed is with this password. Please also make sure that you have a keypad PIN code which will mean that any thief would not be able to access your device without your PIN.

If you have an Android phone there are also many Apps that can be downloaded with the same functionality.

PC Ed Allison

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Caravan Security

Following theft and attempted theft of caravans.  Cambridgeshire Constabulary advise taking security precautions to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of caravan theft.

Immobilise your caravan, even if you are stopping for a short time.

Many caravan owners will be aware of hitch locks and towing eye locks, as well as wheel clamps that are useful for when the caravan is not in use.

SOLD_SECURE_LOGO stronghold-alko-compatible-sold-secure-hitch-lock

Always look for attack tested products which you can find via www.soldsecure.com (gold standard products will be the ones that achieved the highest attack standard)

Fit an alarm and use it each time you leave your caravan.  Lock windows, doors and roof lights plus the gas compartment when you leave for any period of time.  Keep the keys with you.

Also look for lockable corner steadies.  Alarms are available with tilt sensors, as well as leg sensor alarms. Other items that may be useful are secure locks for the main entry door (FIAMMA or Milenco) for example.  Take valuables with you when you leave the caravan, or lock them away.  Don’t leave items on display to tempt thieves.  Specialist safes are available for caravans.  Register your property for FREE with www.immobilise.com you can register anything with a serial number such as bicycles, mobile phones, laptops and also more unique items by uploading a digital photo.

It is also worth considering using lockable posts or bollards so that the caravan cannot easily be towed away, think about how and where your caravan is parked, park up tight with the nose facing in to help deter opportunist attacks.

Never leave registration documents within the caravan they may help a thief to sell the caravan on.

Tracker devices will help trace your caravan in the event it is stolen.  Also register with CRiS when you purchase your caravan, check the windows are registered and etched accordingly.

When purchasing a new caravan ask about the safety and security features included.

All caravans produced since August 1997 should be electronically tagged.

When buying a second-hand caravan, try to verify the seller’s identity and check the number plate on the caravan matches the one on the tow car.  If the caravan is registered with CRiS (Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme) you can check its history.

If it is not registered call 0203 282 1000 or online www.cris.co.uk

If your caravan will be unused for long periods think about removing the wheels, and rest the structure on a wheel stand.

For companies offering secure storage facilities, look for CASSOA certified facilities with ‘Gold award’ status, they should have basic security standards such as CCTV, and a no tailgating policy.

Rachel Carr, Crime Reduction Officer.