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In very simplistic terms, for most crimes to take place, you need three things to come together at the same time. There needs to be a victim (or target), an offender and an opportunity. It follows that if we can remove just one of these ingredients a crime cannot take place.
We are the potential victims and we or our property will be the target. It is obviously not always possible to remove ourselves from harm and nor can we always remove the targets. Likewise, whilst the police do their level best to remove the offenders from circulation, there will always be plenty of them about. So it falls to us to do everything we can to remove the most obvious opportunities that allow crime to take place. And that is exactly what this website is all about!
Unfortunately, many of us (some more than others) regularly present opportunities to the offenders and then wonder why we become the victims and if you don't believe me here's just twenty-three things we do or don't do that encourage crime......
- Leaving stuff on view in the car
- Forgetting to lock the vehicle
- Not properly locking a multi-point locking door, especially at night
- Leaving keys in door locks, especially close to cat-flaps
- Leaving a ground floor front window open when out in the back garden
- Leaving doors and windows open or unlocked when going out
- Not leaving lights on in the home when we go out at night
- Not buying enhanced secured doors and windows when upgrading them
- Having an insecure shed containing tools for the burglar to use on the house
- Not locking the garage, which may have a door directly into the house
- Not chaining up a wheelie bin which could be used to climb over a side gate
- Not locking a side gate
- Not setting the burglar alarm
- Having a security safe and not using it
- Not marking valuables, making it easy for thieves to sell them on
- Opening the door to unexpected callers without checking who’s there first
- Doing business with cold callers at the door and on the phone
- Carrying a wallet in a back pocket
- Hanging a handbag on the back of a chair in a pub or cafe
- Showing off the latest mobile phone to friends in a busy pub
- Getting into an unlicensed taxi
- Believing something we are told that’s simply too good to be true
- Not trusting our instincts that something isn’t right
As you read through my list I wonder if you recognised something you might have done! Be not embarrassed, I’ve been guilty of several of them myself (but not my wife who is perfect in every way).
The point I want to make though is that these mistakes create the conditions necessary for unnecessary crimes to take place! Most of the time you’ll get away with it, but then one day you won’t and then you’ll have to call the police.
Having been a policeman attending the scenes of many unnecessary crimes I was always very sensitive to the victim – as we should be, but privately it used to concern me especially as in my days thieving and burglary and crime in general was far more common than it is today - and we could barely keep up with it.
So think about this: Well-known Criminologists, Marcus Felson and Ronald V Clarke, once said “There is no single cause of crime that is sufficient to guarantee its occurrence: yet opportunity above all others is necessary and therefore has as much or more claim to being a root cause.” Having spent years in crime prevention I think they're spot on!
So my request to you is always to take a minute or two to consider your security, which might save you a day or two in picking up the pieces when things go wrong.