Builders urged to ‘design out’ crime at new Telford homes

Police have called on builders behind plans for more than 200 homes in Telford to "design out" the fear of crime. 

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Telford & Wrekin's crime prevention design advisor has urged developers behind the plans to build 220 homes in Priorslee to think about ways to promote community safety within the scheme.

West Mercia Police's Sara Giles, based at Malinsgate Police Station, made the comments in relation to the plans put forward by Lovell for land off Gatcombe Way, which have already been approved in principle.

The design and detail of the development is now under consultation and she requested that a condition be attached to any approval, that the applicant aim to achieve the Secured By Design award.

She said: "It is a nationally recognised award aimed at achieving a minimum set of standards in crime prevention for the built environment.

"The scheme has a proven track record in crime prevention and reduction. The opportunity for crime to happen can be reduced by up to 75 per cent if Secured By Design is implemented."

Ms Giles recommended ensuring there are no blank gable ends, or walls without ownership, and asked developers to take note of car parking issues.

She said: "These are a point of some concern as blank gable ends have been proven to encourage loitering, graffiti and general anti-social behaviour, as offenders do not associate a blank wall as belonging to that property.

"I would always recommend that each gable end has at least one window installed, as this will denote a sense of ownership of that wall by that particular property and will also increase the natural surveillance of the surrounding street.

"Designated parking areas that are set away from the dwellings themselves increase the opportunity for vehicle crime, as offenders are less likely to be seen or overheard.

"I would always recommend that each parking space is positioned outside the front entrance to the corresponding dwelling to minimise the risk of residents having their vehicles broken into.

"A neighbourhood that has an unkempt appearance is more vulnerable to an increase in crime, as the implication is that nobody cares about the area so nobody will mind if crime or anti-social behaviour is committed."

Ms Giles added that if approved, developers should make an effort during the building process to prevent crime as well.

She said building sites and site offices and storage areas become "common targets for crimes such as theft of plant and fuel".

She said: "These sites should be made as secure as possible and all plant machinery should be stored in a secure area.

"Tools and equipment should be marked in such a way that they are easily identifiable to the company and consideration should be given to the use of security patrols."

The application is available to view online at Telford & Wrekin Council and will be decided in the coming months.

Source - Shropshire Star

4 Myths About Rural Crime

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We all like to think of the countryside as a place with no crime problems, but sadly, rural crime is a common and neglected issue. There are many myths that imply rural crime is not an issue, but these are simply out dated and rural crime is a big problem in the UK and internationally. Research by Kreseda Smith at the UK’s leading agricultural college – Harper Adams University, sets out the key myths that prevent rural crime being challenged.

Myth 1 – Rural England experiences low levels of crime.

Well the reality of this is that the NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey 2015 estimates the cost of rural crime in the UK at 37.8million. Never mind the fact that NRCN’s (National Rural Crime Network) survey estimated cost of rural crime in the UK may well be in the region of £800million.

Myth 2 – All rural crimes are the same.

No two rural communities are the same, therefore different crimes proliferate in different areas, meaning it can be difficult to get an accurate picture of crimes occurring in isolated communities. An increase in rural crime research in England would also support this challenge to the myth.

Myth 3 – Rural areas are close knit communities.

Rural communities in England are no longer ‘exclusive’. This myth allows the less visible/attractive aspects of rural life to remain hidden and possibly disregarded by researchers. In consequence to this, researchers may bypass these communities and this will affect the overall amount of rural crime.

Myth 4 – Rural England is not affected by social disorganisation

Social disorganisation is becoming increasingly evident in English villages. Research indicates high in – and - out migration in rural England. This means that there is more and more crime happening in these villages. Researchers tend to focus on the larger cities and rural villages are often forgotten. This blurs the truth of rural crime, relating to the myth above.

Internationalisation

Rural crime is also an international problem with other countries experiencing similar problems to England.

  • Items stolen in UK often end up abroad as payment for people, drugs, arms
  • Organised crime gangs have ‘shopping lists’ to send to Europe, Asia and Africa
  • Criminals and also victims of crimes in the English countryside are often foreign nationals

Organised Crime Gangs

  • Rural England is no longer the domain of the ‘gentlemen poacher’
  • OCGs are travelling criminals working cross-borders e.g. county, police force, international
  • Significant planning and surveillance is undertaken by the OCG once target identified
  • Criminals are tackling isolated areas more
  • Rural crime also affects towns and cities

 

Rural crime research in England needs developing as a distinct study area. The research by Harper Adams is invaluable, particularly when rural crime is such a neglected subject. There are fabulous initiatives by local police forces in raising awareness and advising rural communities on how to protect themselves. Yet until the extent of the problem is made common knowledge, many rural communities would benefit from a national drive to stamp out rural crime.

 

Combating Rural Crime

Rural Crime is a growing issue, and most especially sheep rustling. 

Figures show that livestock theft is an ongoing and growing problem. 88,000 farm animals were stolen in 2014, costing rural insurer NFU Mutual £6.6 million in insurance claims.

Currently, typical crime prevention against livestock theft is minimal, with ear tags, branding, tattooing and notching proving unreliable in protecting sheep due to the easy removal of these markers.

As a result we have been looking at new and innovative solutions to protect sheep from theft. All will be revealed in the New Year once trials have been completed, so please see our website for updates.

In the meantime, we were delighted to be at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair with the Country Landowner's Association and the National Sheep Association. Helen Davies, National Sheep Association Development Officer, has become the first woman to win the John Gittens Memorial Award for services to the Welsh Sheep Farming Industry.

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 Retail Security at Christmas

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Christmas is almost upon us, and ‘tis the season to be jolly, especially if you’re in business. The downside of the festive season however is that theft also becomes a much bigger problem during the months of December. Overall throughout the year of 2015, the average value of in-store customer theft cost £325 per incident, and accounts for 81% of crime committed against business. During Christmas, the costs can double, with even non-criminal shoppers tempted to slip a few extras into their basket.

Retailers report not only the effect of financial losses, but loss of staff time and distraction from work, as well as damage to brand reputation as the most significant indirect impacts of crime.

Stay vigilant during the run-up to Christmas period and help protect your business using the checklist below:

A risk assessment is the ideal way to identify gaps in your security and to make sure that your security measures remain up to the challenge. Do this at least once a year using a professional security risk assessor who is more likely to spot holes in your security.

Encourage staff to either greet customers or make eye contact with them. Statistics show theft is far likely to occur if their presence is registered.


Use simple deterrent measures on the outside of the premises. Signs warning potential thieves about the presence of CCTV, alarms or SmartWater will make criminals think twice.


Utilise tracking devices for raising an alarm when goods are taken off premises.


Does your CCTV equipment monitor the products and areas most vulnerable to theft? Take advice on where to position your cameras for optimum coverage. Overcrowded shop floors offer perfect cover for shop lifters. 


In the first half of 2016, around 152,000 counterfeit banknotes were taken out of circulation from British streets. Learn how to tell the difference between a real and a fake.


Identify the merchandise most prone to shoplifting and put protective measures such as locked cabinets in place.


Visible security guards provide a high deterrent factor. If your premises is large consider taking on contract security guards for an extra level of retail security during your busiest periods.


The British Retail Consortium Crime Survey 2015 survey revealed that thefts by employees cost on average £788 more than each customer theft. Restrict access to stock rooms to designated employees.


Carry out regular stock and equipment audits and mark computers and other essential equipment with an asset marking solution.  

Supporting Our Community 

We are delighted to be proud sponsors of Shrewsbury literature festival. The festival is held at various locations around Shrewsbury including Prestfelde Preparatory School and Shrewsbury Museum on the 25th,26th and 27th of November. Don’t miss our sponsored event - Stranger than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century -  by John Higgs at St Alkmunds on Sunday night at 6pm.

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SW Asset On the Road

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Last week found us at the Business Show at London Olympia. This is a great event for businesses large and small, with lots of networking and new opportunities. As a result, we're now looking at new markets in Africa and India, and are excited to be involved in bringing new innovative security products on-stream in these regions. Security in certain parts of developing countries as a result of economic instability needs to be challenged, where threats can range from armed robbery to kidnap.

Any business threatened by crime is going to suffer, but progress towards a better quality of life depends on businesses in these regions being able to operate safely and protect employees from harm. 

 One in Ten Victims of Burglary Move House

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Burglars take more than just your valuables: they can also take your peace of mind, sense of security and your self-confidence. A new study has found that more than a million people who have been burgled in the UK feel so unsafe in their home afterwards that they end up having to move house.

The research, by Churchill Home Insurance, discovered that 25% of burglary victims suffer sleep deprivation, and 8% are ill as a result of anxiety. Some have experienced severe psychological trauma (5%), loss of self-confidence (12%), a struggle to concentrate at work (8%) and the need for counselling (6%). Meanwhile, 11% couldn't be home alone after their home was broken into.

It takes victims an average of three days to feel normal again, while a fifth didn't recover for a month, and 8% say it took six months. One in ten said things were never the same again - and over a million ended up having to move house in order to move on from the burglary.

Dr Claire Nee, Psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, said: "Being a victim of burglary is a traumatic experience for anyone and for some it can have a lasting emotional impact. The thought of someone in our home, our safe place, looking through our personal things can leave us feeling violated and vulnerable. The important thing for anyone who has been a victim to remember is that they are not on the burglar's agenda. The burglar targets a property to enter and exit as quickly as possible with a reasonable gain and actively wants to avoid meeting the homeowner."

Protect yourself

The psychological impact of a burglary underlines why it's so important to protect our home, even if the valuables are fully covered by insurance. There's no way to absolutely guarantee nobody will ever be able to get into your home uninvited, but you can make it so difficult that burglars leave you alone.

Protect the property boundary

Tall, spiky bushes will keep people from clambering into the back garden, while well-maintained shrubs in the front garden will make it difficult for anyone to lurk out of sight. Most burglars are opportunists and will be looking for property they can easily target

Sound and light 

Motion sensor lighting will alert you to any intruders, as will a gravel path.

Secure outside belongings

BBQ’s, garden furniture and bikes can attract burglars and advertise your lack of security awareness. Lock these valuables in the garage or shed. Ideally you should be using a wall floor bracket to ensure burglars can’t easily break the lock.

Secure the windows and doors

Make sure you have effective locks that comply with your insurer's small print, plus a security chain. And then make sure you use them - even when you are in. A security chain will also allow you to check who’s at the door without compromising your safety.

Never leave a spare key outside

Unfortunately, this is such a common practice that burglars will search under stones and plant pots for keys. If you must, leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbour.

Source: AOL Money 31st October 2015

 

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10 Fuel Theft Protection Techniques

Fuel theft is a problem that affects us all. Logistics and haulage firms pass on the costs to customers, and all unprotected vehicles are at risk. With the onset of winter, then domestic oil tanks for heating also become attractive to criminals. Particularly when the price is high.

Protecting yourself from fuel theft can be done, so read on for our top ten tips:

  • Fit anti-siphoning devices

  • Install cages and improve security surrounding fuel tanks

  • Employ defensive parking, especially at night. Where possible park against solid objects to prevent access to the fuel tank. Try and park in well-lit areas

  • Use locking fuel caps. Padlocks can also be used to secure oil tanks. A thief will usually come equipped with a limited range of tools to attack your tank so it's worth spending a little more on good quality locks

  • Consider the use of alarms. These can be either on the vehicles themselves or the parking area perimeter. Alarm systems can also be fitted to fuel tanks using wireless transmitters placed inside the tank cap. More advanced systems can be linked to lighting or smartphone

  • CCTV can be used to prevent theft. Train cameras on compounds and/or tanks on vulnerable vehicles or install PTZ cameras which will home in on particular areas when activity is detected

  • Use a fuel tank sensor. Remote electronic oil or diesel level gauges will set off an audible alarm or send information to a smartphone if the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full.

  • Consider using fuel dye

  • Plant defensive dense or prickly shrubs around domestic oil tanks

  • Refuel vehicles in the morning rather than at night

We offer a fuel tank security protection strategy, including fuel tank sensors for immediate fuel alerts. Contact us to find out more.

Call of Duty or Victim Culture?

An assistant chief constable from Leicestershire Police has caused outrage after blaming burglary victims for allowing crime by leaving doors and windows open. Is this fair?

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Phil Kay, assistant chief of Leicestershire Police, claimed that burglary victims who left doors or windows open should not expect police to investigate. Comparing householders to obese patients who expect NHS care, he added, ‘It is right that people take responsibility. When people leave doors or windows open there in an expectation police will investigate. If they knew we were not investigating, they may take notice.’

His remarks drew condemnation from various quarters, including the Tory MP for Harborough in Leicestershire, who said that ‘bearing down on persistent, dishonest criminality’ was as important as the need to educate ‘foolish householders.’

Are police be right to blame victims for their own misfortune? After all, if you leave the keys in your car, it would be difficult to argue it would be bad luck if it was stolen.  Equally, who would be to blame if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt and sustained head injuries in a crash. Surely we all should take care to keep ourselves as safe as we can?

Mr Kay does, unfortunately make a valid point. Householders and business owners do have a duty to protect homes and premises by securing them properly. Particularly when you consider that the majority of burglaries are purely opportunistic, and thirty per cent of them occur when thieves walk in through an unlocked front door.

Certainly, from the perspective of insurance companies alone, a refusal to pay out if you leave your property unsecured is well-known.It doesn’t matter how many home security systems are in place if a criminal can get in just by opening the door or climbing through an open window.  You are likely to receive a resounding lack of help in replacing valuable goods, not to mention an increased insurance premium.

So overall, although the police shouldn’t disregard crimes on the basis of carelessness or lack of thought, it’s certainly worth making sure your doors and windows are locked. And even better? This simple action won’t cost you a penny. 

Sheep Rustling Fleecing Farmers 

West Midlands police have caused a stir on social media after circulating images of stolen sheep – with their faces blurred out.

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The woolly passengers were spotted after they were herded into the back of a car and driven around by suspected rustlers. The lambs' identity was "protected due to their age and vulnerability", West Midlands Police said, in reference to ‘the Ewe-ropean Convention on Eweman Rights over the need to hide victims faces. Yet despite the force’s sense of fun, the story masks a serious issue.

Insurance company the NFU estimates livestock rustling to be costing agriculture over £6.6 million a year. In 2014 alone, 88,000 farm animals were stolen. NFU Mutual rural crime specialist Tim Price told the Farmers Guardian this month that rural crime is a having a profound effect on farmers in certain areas.

“Farmers have said they are unable to keep sheep in a certain area because they cannot keep them safe.” The problem of sheep rustling is especially problematic where isolated farms and easy motorway access allows thieves to rustle sheep without being seen and make a quick getaway. Sheep crime in the Midlands increased by 10-13%.

Solutions to sheep rustling are currently very limited – and being able to identify a stolen flock is one of the main problems. So much so, that ancient methods of identifying sheep by their markings are once more being used. The recently re-published Shepherds Guide is described as an indispensable handbook on ancient sheep marks for the identification of individual sheep.

Author of the guide James Rebanks explained; "The guide only comes out every 20 or 30 years or so because the markings hardly ever change. They stay with the farm for generations, so they're always the same. Some of these markings are 1,000 years old; they were brought over by the Vikings."

The men involved in fleecing the owner of his lambs in Yardley have been arrested on suspicion of theft, while police attempted to trace the owners of the sheep who are safe and well. Let’s hope the police have a mint copy of their own Shepherds Guide!

 

Farmer Tangos Sheep to Protect Against Theft

A SHEEP farmer has “Tangoed” his flock with bright orange dye to deter rural thieves.

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By Jerry Lawton / Published 23rd September 2016

Pip Simpson has sprayed his 800 prized Cheviots from head to toe after losing 300 to rustlers in the last four years.

The dye does not damage the sheep but proves almost impossible for thieves to remove.

“The only solution we could find was to make them completely different to everybody else’s,” he said.C

“They’ve been sprayed luminous orange. There are no chemicals or anything and it’s not going to harm them at all.

“It’s as if they’ve been Tangoed.”

Pip, 50, from Troutbeck, Cumbria, added: “Sheep theft is a massive problem." Cumbria Police have admitted there has been a recent increase in the number of sheep thefts.

"We’re hoping this will deter thieves because if they did get pinched they’re bright orange and somebody is going to wonder where they’ve come from," said Pip.

A recent National Farmers’ Union report found that rural crime cost farmers in the north-west of England £4million last year.

 

 

 


 

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