One of the most common forms of burglaries is distraction burglary which can come in many forms. For example, someone may knock on your front door occupying your attention whilst an accomplice targets the back of the property, or you may be asked to get something from another room whilst they take what is in reach. This is normally targeted towards vulnerable or elderly residents which is why it is important to stay educated not just for yourself but for your friends and family members that should be aware of the incidents. There are a number of ways to protect yourself and deter people from targeting your home which is why we have created our top 5 tips on distraction burglaries.
1) Always ask for ID
A number of distraction burglars pose as tradesmen or local authority officials such as people from the water company looking to read the meter or tree surgeons offering work in your local area. In all cases when someone knocks on your front door you should always ask for official ID. If they cannot provide it you have every right to refuse them entry to your home. Even if they are wearing a uniform or using an ID card it can sometimes be fake which is why all companies provide examples of their identification online. When in doubt, ring the company they say they are from and ask them to identify the worker or ask them to come back later when someone else is home with you for an official appointment.
2) Keep your neighbours informed
The strongest defence against any crime is keeping a united force in your local area which is why it is encouraged to join a community watch programme and get to know your area. There have been reports of distraction burglars targeting one specific area for a period of time so keep your neighbours informed of anything suspicious. This is essential to support vulnerable members of your community. Some burglars will create stories such as they are carrying out work next door and need to check the structure from inside your property, or they have been recommended by someone in your area. If this is the case, check directly with your neighbour and if they support their claims, make sure someone is home with you if they need to enter.
3) Lock your entrances
You should always ensure your house is secure and your entrances, including windows, doors and cat flaps, are locked. Distraction burglaries could lead you away from the property such as to assist a broke down car so shut the door behind you and keep your keys on your person. Sometimes the burglar will get you to go into the property asking for a glass of water or to borrow your phone, meaning they are able to take what’s in reach whilst you’re gone. Alternatively, working in a pair, one person could keep you occupied at the front door whilst the other enters through the back door which is why we suggest you always keep your doors locked even when you are at home.
4) Keep important items safe
As mentioned before a large number of distraction burglars will only take what’s in reach whilst you are occupied elsewhere. For this reason, we always recommend items such as car keys, handbags and anything important is kept away from the door as they are the easiest things to grab and usually you will not notice until later on. For example, if they took your keys, they could return later when you’re asleep to take your vehicle, or whilst you’re out they could gain access to your home. Another way to protect these items is to not allow anyone with access to your property to be left alone. In previous cases, people posing as plumbers have asked residents to turn on the taps in another room when they pretend to fix a problem whilst they are actually taking your possessions.
5) Don’t be alone
The most important point that is frequently mentioned is to never be alone when someone is trying to enter your property. Official companies will be able to book you a new appointment if they arrive at a time you are home alone, and you have every right to refuse them entry until you are confident you are safe. This will allow one person to always be with the person entering your home. You should ask a family member, friend or trusted neighbour who will be able to support you in any way necessary. We recommend you offer to join any elderly or vulnerable family members when they book appointments so you can ensure they are not take advantage of. No matter the situation you are always safer when you are not alone.
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