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Raising awareness of doorstep crime

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Protect Yourself from Doorstep Crime

Police in the north east will be working with Local Authority Trading Standards Services and retail partners to raise awareness of doorstep crime and to promote how the public can protect themselves from becoming a victim of this type of offence.

This activity is in advance of, and in addition to, next month's annual national campaign, Operation Monarda, in order to correspond with the north east's own experience of when there is an increase in these crimes being reported.

There are two main types of doorstep crime - bogus callers and rogue traders.

Bogus callers try to get into a person's home or obtain personal details by pretending to be someone theyíre not, including council staff, charity collectors, meter readers and police officers. In reality, they are criminals trying to steal money and valuables.

Rogue traders usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering services such as making repairs or carrying out work on a person's house, garden or driveway. In reality they charge inflated prices for poor quality or unnecessary work.

Doorstep crime can affect some of the most vulnerable members of local communities, with perpetrators targeting victims due to a perceived vulnerability, such as age, gender or disability. However, busy families, or those perceived to have money available, can also be selected as targets.

Police Inspector Colin Taylor said:

"We are delighted to again be working closely with partners and we are committed to reducing the number of incidents of doorstep crime and to keeping people safe.

"Next week our Crime Reduction Officers and Trading Standards Officers will visit DIY stores and supermarkets across the north east to speak to members of these communities about protecting themselves from doorstep crime and handing out leaflets of guidance.

"I would urge anyone who has close contact with potential victims - family, friends and carers - to watch out for suspicious callers or people at their doors, or any suspicious amounts of money disappearing. It is very important to pass on advice to friends, neighbours or family members who may be more likely to be targeted and provide them with the information and confidence to say no."

Wilma Urquhart, Aberdeenshire Council's Trading Standards Manager, said:

"These operations are extremely important in raising awareness of doorstep crime and Aberdeenshire Trading Standards are keen to work again with the police to help protect the residents of the north east.

"Weíre particularly keen to make sure people donít trade with workmen who turn up uninvited, without giving themselves time to get additional quotes and to speak to their friends and family before making a decision. We know that the elderly and vulnerable are often targeted repeatedly by rogue traders so we would also ask residents to help look out for their more vulnerable friends and neighbours."

Key advice for the public in dealing with doorstep crime:

  • Keep your front and back doors locked at all times and be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly.
  • Use the door viewer or nearby window when answering the door and use (or fit) a door chain or bar.
  • Only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine.
  • Always ask for identification badges of anyone you answer the door to, but donít rely on them. Identity cards can be faked Ė phone the company to verify their identity.
  • Some companies offer a password system. Ask your utility provider(s) if this can be used and if you have a password with a company make sure the caller uses it.
  • Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help Ė they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you.
  • Never agree to pay for goods or give money to strangers who arrive at your door.
  • Donít keep large amounts of money in your home.
  • Donít feel pressurised into agreeing to immediate work or buying a product or service.
  • Donít agree to buy from the first person who calls.
  • Donít pay cash up front or offer to go and get money.
  • Shop around and get a few quotes if you decide you need work done and ask for recommendations from friends and family.
  • Ask what your cancellation rights are.

Crime Reduction/Trading Standards personnel will be present for a period during the day at the following locations:

  • Tuesday 10 April at ASDA, Edgar Road, Elgin
  • Wednesday 11 April at ASDA, Watermill Road, Fraserburgh and at B&Q, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen
  • Thursday 12 April at Tesco, Hill of Banchory, Banchory
  • Friday 13 April at Sainsbury's, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen

Further advice and a video regarding doorstep crime can be found on the Police Scotland website.

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