How to Deal with Doorstep Crime
What is doorstep crime?
Distraction Burglars – these types of burglars will try to convince you to let them in by using made up stories. They will claim to be from a trusted authority such as the police, the local council or possibly a representative of a utility company. Once inside your home they will steal items themselves, or they will distract the homeowner while an unseen partner will steal goods.
Rogue traders – these thieves will arrive at your home and offer to do services such as gardening, gutter cleaning or other odd jobs. They may try to tell you that the work is essential to maintain your safety, or that they have been authorised by the local authority to carry out these works. They will complete these jobs and then charge you an extortionate amount of money. Rogue traders have been known to turn threating or aggressive if you refuse to pay.
Who is Vulnerable to doorstop crime?
Whilst it is true that distraction burglars and rogue traders can target anyone, the elderly and vulnerable are the most likely to be targeted. These types of criminals may watch houses for days to establish if the person living there is old, living with a physical disability or suffering from mental ill health.
The police work with local authorities and trading standards to spread awareness and provide support to victims of this sort of crime. It’s important that advice and information about doorstep crime reaches as many people as possible, to stop members of the public falling victim to these criminals.
Can I help those at risk for doorstep crime?
If you are worried that someone you care about is at risk of being a victim of doorstep crime, the best thing you can do is simply TALK about it. How a lot of these criminals get away with this type of crime, is making their victims feel embarrassed or stupid for falling for it, which means they are less likely to report the crime or tell anyone about it. So, by having these open conversations with your loved ones, you can remove the stigma of being a victim of this type of crime.
Other things you can do are;
Make sure friends and family are familiar with the advice around doorstop crime.
Try to find a person that lives close to your loved one (if you do not) that they can go to for support or to call if they want to check someone’s identity.
Reinforce the fact that if they do not know who is at the door, then they have no obligation to let them in, or even answer the door. If the person refuses to leave then a homeowner should call 999.
How do I protect myself from doorstop crime?
DO NOT- accept work from strangers who offer it over the phone or at your doorstep.
DO NOT– go to the bank with a stranger offering services or give them your bank details.
DO NOT– let someone you don’t know into your home.
DO NOT– take a phone number as proof of identification. Always directly phone whatever company or authority they claim to be from, to verify if they are legit. At the end of the day, if you aren’t sure about the person, don’t let them in.
YOU SHOULD– ask to see some photo ID from anyone you don’t know claiming to be from utility companies, local authority or the police. If they truly are who they say they are, then they will have no problem showing you their identification. If you are still unsure then contact a trusted family or friend, to come and join you.