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Celebrating our 100,000th visitor!
Dear Friend in Crime Prevention
Thank you for taking this seventh Newsletter from The Crime Prevention Website, which is a little late and shorter in length because we’re somewhat hung over after dealing with a huge response to our Prize Draw to celebrate our first birthday. Not that we’re complaining, because an upsurge in interest in our site was what we were hoping to achieve; and we did.
Other good things have happened too, including me attending a conference at Hendon where I had the pleasure of delivering a lecture on the practical application of crime prevention theory to an audience of Borough Chief Superintendents and their management teams.
I’m also in the middle of some work to assist one of my linking police services who have been putting together some excellent crime prevention material for their farming community.
Free Prize Draw – How did it go?
We announced the winner of this fantastic prize on the News pages of the website on 4th June. The winner was Fiona from Kingston upon Thames and I’m sure our friends at TotalSafes.co.uk. who generously donated the prize, will be sorting out and delivering her order as I write. So thank you to all of you who took part and well done to Fiona.
As you will recall, our main objective for the prize draw was to encourage our visitors to complete the Home Security Survey and to help us reach our objective total of 2,000 completed surveys. Well, the competition didn’t quite manage that, but we nevertheless saw a 47% increase on the norm, which in real figures was 325 surveys over a 52 day competition period, which has helped us get to today’s total of 1,550 as at 19/06/13. So it looks like we’ll have to wait until September to achieve our goal, but that’s two months sooner than it would have been.
We also got loads more ‘likes’ on our Facebook page, lots more followers on Twitter and 117 new subscribers to our Newsletter. Of course, we fully expect some of the new Newsletter subscribers to unsubscribe as they were only registering to get a chance to win the draw, and that’s fair enough, but we’re sure many will have an interest in crime prevention and will continue to take it and hopefully let their friends and relatives know about us. We’ll see what happens.
The draw also gave us an opportunity to promote the importance of having a safe in the home, something I did several times on our News page. This too seems to have worked since visits to our ‘Safes advice page’ increased by 62%!
All in all then, we were very happy with the outcome, TotalSafes.co.uk were very happy and the winner was extremely happy too and with all this happiness I think maybe we’ll have to do it again sometime. So, if there’s a manufacturer and or supplier of a security product out there who might like to support our next prize draw and make us happier still do please get in touch with us using Contact us.
The Crime Prevention Website – how are we doing?
As of 8.00am on 19 June 2013 we’d received 118,813 visits who viewed 258,352 pages. So we’ve gone well past the 100K mark and with current weekly visitor rates of around 4,500+ we’re getting very close to being a ¼ million visitors a year website; not bad for a specialist site after only 14 months. Once again this is down to you and everyone who’s promoting us and linking up, so thank you very much indeed.
Links to the Crime Prevention Website since 10th April
16 more websites have joined us since Newsletter 6 was published and although the referred visitors from Partnering sites has increased substancially the overall share of total visits has been declining to around 9%. This is probably because this website is being found more often on internet searches, which it is. But, like I’ve said before, referred visitors spend twice as long on the site and read twice as many pages than those who arrive by other means and so linking up with like-minded websites is very important to us.
Here’s our new links and Partners
Neighbourhood Watch and Community Sites
Having been a keen supporter of the Neighbourhood Watch movement since its introduction into the UK and having helped to set up some of the first schemes in Acton, west London, I was delighted to link up with the London Neighbourhood Watch Association (LNWA) the day after I sent out the last newsletter.
The LNWA represents the Boroughs and the City of London at the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (NHWN), the national Neighbourhood Watch organisation recognised by ACPO and the Home Office.
Now we hope that this new relationship with the Londonwide body will make it a little easier to link up with other Watches around London and judging by the links below we think that it is.
In our most recent Newsletter we made mention of the fact that there were probably other websites out there with links to us and that we wouldn’t necessarily know about them. Well, just when I thought that maybe that wasn’t the case at all I got a very nice email from the Chair of Newbury South West Neighbourhood Action Group, Angela Money, saying that they’ve been linking to us for ages!
Neighbourhood Action Groups are multi-agency problem-solving bodies in the UK which are focused on tackling the top priorities as identified by their communities. For more information please go to the Neighbourhood Action Website
Cosham Neighbourhood Watch in Hampshire joined us on 22nd May. Cosham is a northern suburb of Portsmouth lying within the city boundary but off Portsea Island. It’s been in existence for a very long time since it’s mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Unlike Cosham, the website’s only just come into existence! On this new and impressive website, which is administered by Mathew Enfield, you can join the forum, subscribe to their news feed, create your own profile and make new friends in crime prevention. The site already contains lots of crime prevention advice and makes for an interesting site to visit on a regular basis. If you live locally do join this new online community and help each other to stay safe.
The Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association (The THNWA) The THNWA was set up with the help of Inspector Steve Cook from the Met Police. They assist existing watches and help those wanting to start a watch in their area. They recommend Neighbourhood Watches either as stand-alone or sub-groups of Residents Associations. Their website is sponsored by the Metropolitan Police
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is situated to the east of the City of London and north of the River Thames. It is in the eastern part of London and covers much of the traditional East End. It also includes much of the redeveloped Docklands region of London, including West India Docks and Canary Wharf.
Hide Tower (NWHT) and Vauxhall Bridge Road (VBRNW) Neighbourhood Watch Schemes share the same informative website, the Vincent Square NHW Schemes London SW1 and both were created to deal with real crime problems and anti-social behaviour (ASB).
NWHT has helped to resolve issues such as drug trafficking, drug use, intruders, noise and rubbish issues, rough sleeping, tagging and graffiti and are vigilant about sustaining and maintaining a safe, secure and vibrant community in their neighbourhood.
VBRNW has worked closely with Peabody to improve lighting in the communal area of their flats and also to repair and maintain their security gates and are now working to introduce CCTV around the estate and to improve the door entry systems to the blocks of flats.
Interestingly one of the streets looked after by Neighbourhood Watch Hide Tower is Regency Street. Regency Street used to be home to the Metropolitan Police's Crime Prevention Branch. It was lodged there from the mid 1960s (when organised crime prevention began in the police) until it moved to the Yard, I think around 1993. 'Regency Street', was synonymous throughout the UK with the term 'crime prevention' and they used to produce a crime prevention newsletter called 'Regency Street News' that was circulated not just to London's police service, but to all police forces around the country. Apart from offices, Regency Street was home to a comprehensive display of crime prevention products, such as locks, alarms and other gadgets and had a teaching room for up and coming Crime Prevention Officers. All in the distant past now of course!
Just as I was finishing this newsletter I received an email from the Chairman of the North Yorkshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (NY NHWA) confirming a reciprocal link between our websites and since then we've received lots of referrals from them indicating that they are a well visited site. The NY NHWA represents the interests of all the district level NHW associations in the county.
The county of Cumbria has always featured well in terms of completed Home Security Surveys and it was clear to us that the local police there were promoting our website on a regular basis. So, it was really great news to discover that Cumbria Constabulary have now linked up with us from their Home Security advice pages on their website. Thank you to whoever it was who put the link in!
This brings our police service links up to seven with two more planning to link soon. If you're one of our many police officers or PCSOs who take this newsletter and think that a formal link between us and your police service's website would be of advantage to you and the public you serve then do please see if you can make that happen.
Companies and Consultant sites
Marlow Gardner and Cooke, independent insurance brokers in Peterborough, have popped us onto their useful links page, which is the first insurer to do so and, of course, we're reciprocally linked with our friends at TotalSafes.co.uk who supported our recent prize draw. You'll also find us linked from a really good on-line bicycle security equipment retailer, Security for Bikes.com and a fencing company in East Sussex - Chaffin Fencing.
Associations and Institutes
One of the highlights of this period was an approach from the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) to link up. The MLA is a seriously professional trade association that is highly respected by all the people and organisations that matter in the world of security and crime prevention.
The MLA is a not-for-profit organisation promoting the skill and integrity of its approximately 1,400 members. It was established over 50 years ago to set and promote standards of conduct, practice and materials within locksmithing. Recognised as the authoritative body for locksmithing by the police, Home Office, British Standards Institute, RISCAuthority and Building Research Establishment (BRE), the MLA also has a subsidiary company, Sold Secure, which performs certification of security products via manual attack testing.
Consequently you'll see the MLA logo on the footer of our website pages.
Forums and News mentions
We appeared on three on-line news sites. One was the Uxbridge Gazette that very kindly reported on our first year of operation, which included a typically posed picture of me and Ben at the computer. We also had appearances in the Gloucester Citizen and Junction City News in Oregon (we get about!)
Other referring websites
SOS Global is a social enterprise providing youth and communities, in-reach health awareness training initiatives and safety products. Based at the Innovation Centre at the University of Exeter Devon, the organisation creates positive experiences for young people throughout the UK and worldwide. Their workshops and awareness campaigns are designed within the ECM framework, Fraser Guidelines and OFSTED requirements. SOS hosted the Southwest’s first Knife Crime conference on 26th May at Exeter’s Guildhall.
And finally, after receiving a message from South Wales Police Community Support Officer Matthew Langley, we've linked up with his Ketsui Karate Club, which meets at Loughor Welfare Hall, Woodlands Road, Loughor, Swansea. The Ketsui Karate Club has been open since 1997 and is part of The Welsh Karate Association and we're really happy to be associated with the club.
We've maintained our No.1 Google rankings for search terms 'crime prevention' and 'crime prevention news' and we've gradually been moving up the results pages for lots of other search terms too. This helps us get found by the public and obviously increases our visitor numbers. Of course, getting to number 1 is great for us, but maintaining that position isn't easy. If there was no activity on the site for a month we'd soon drop down the list!
I've at last started to make amendments to some of the security standards mentioned on the site and over the next two months (in between a couple of weekends away and my summer holiday) I'll be adding new advice pages for boats and possibly for farmers.
The Home Security Survey – the results
As of 19 June the Home Security Survey application on this site had been used 1,550 times, which gives an average use of about 3.56 times a day since launch; slightly up on as reported in the last Newsletter. A whopping 98% reckon the survey is useful and of these 66% say its very or extremely useful, which is good to know.
I'm still trying to hit 2,000 as soon as, so any help in that direction would be appreciated
The Top 10 Counties for taking the survey are:
Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, London, Cumbria, Surrey, Essex, Kent, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Lancashire.
Home Security Survey findings:
Where do you hide your stuff?
On 12 April this year I ran a story on my news pages entitled ‘Your ‘safe place’ could be a safe bet for thieves’. The data for this report was supplied by Confused.com and at the end of the article I beefed up their press release by adding some of my own data gleaned from our on-line Home Security Survey application.
Confused.com’s research firmly established the fact that most householders are hiding their valuables (jewellery, cash, important papers, passports etc) around the home rather than using a safe. Helpfully they even produced a list of the top five favoured hiding places:
- Sock drawer (13%)
- Top of the wardrobe (9%)
- Under the bed (9%)
- Under the sink (6%)
- Under the bedside table (no figure supplied)
Having investigated many burglaries during my police career I can add several more, such as the fridge (especially in the salad drawers), behind books on the book shelves, in the shed, in the hostess trolley and at the back of the drinks cabinet.
There’s one thing all these hiding places have in common and that is that the burglar knows about them and will invariably look in these places as a matter of routine.
So how many households are using these hideaways? I turn to my own collected data to answer that question and from the surveys completed so far it seems that 73% of householders are practicing this hiding practice or not hiding things at all and that only 27% are using a safe of some kind.
Of those who use a safe just 33% describe the safe as being ‘acceptable to their insurers’, which is only 9% of all households who have carried out our Home Security Survey. Because many of the people who have carried out our survey are security aware (members of Neighbourhood Watch for example) I suspect this figure is artificially high and would suggest that the national figure is probably not greater than 5%. Whichever figure you accept they are both quite low, which is a shame, because an insurance rated safe can offer a decent level of security that would defeat most burglars and provide you with some piece of mind, especially since we’re often talking about the protection of things that have a great deal of sentimental value, even if they are not intrinsically valuable.
So what safe should you get? This all depends on what you want to keep in it, the volume of stuff you want to put in it and its overall value. There are three standards that relate to safes which are used to test their performance and provide us with resistance grades, which are in turn used by insurers to determine how much cash and jewellery they are willing to cover for a particular safe.
As a rule of thumb, if a safe has a cash rating of £2,000 it can be used to store £20,000 worth of jewellery, ten times the cash rating. So if the cash rating is £4,000 then it’ll be good for £40,000 worth of jewellery and so on. Typical domestic safes up to a cash rating of £4,000, which would suit most people reading this article, will be certificated to BS EN 14450: 2005. If you need a higher cash rating then you will be looking to purchase a safe that has been certificated to BS EN 1143-1: 2005+A1: 2009 or LPS 1183: Issue 4.2. A more detailed account of the various cash ratings and standards can be found at this link on the Crime Prevention Website, but it is really important to speak with your insurers first, before you make any purchase, since they are the people who will be covering the risk.
The safe shown in the image is a Chubbsafes Water Safe and is cash rated to £2,000. It retails for about £240, perhaps not as much as you might have thought. However, the installation of a safe is critical to its performance and so insurers invariably require a professional installation before they will offer cover and this will inevitably add to the overall cost.
Remember, there are very few police reports about cash rated safes getting broken into and this is mainly because the burglars want to be in and out of your place just as soon as they can. The most commonly stolen property during a burglary is cash, jewellery, credit cards and sometimes the spare car keys (and then the car), the very sort of property that can be kept in a safe and so you’ll greatly reduce your losses should the worst happen.
Crime in the news
Here follows my most read news items during this period. Please feel free to copy and paste our news items into your newsletters as you see fit, but do show the origin of the story, which may be someone or something other than the Crime Prevention Website.
Most read this period
Most Tweeted news stories
Thanks to John McPartlan for the following true story, which he recalls from his community policing days.
Nothing like a bit of pre-planning
In my Community Policing days in Harrogate in the late eighties (while on patrol) I was directed to a small Victorian ‘Two up - Two down’ terraced house on my patch to investigate a burglary report. On arrival I was greeted by the complainant, a widower in his eighties. He explained that despite his house being secure, someone had broken in and stolen all the 'meat off the chicken’ he had cooked the previous day. When questioned he said the house was still secure and no signs of a forced entry were found.
I asked him to show me his security. The complainant closed the front door which led directly onto the street. He locked the mortice lock and then secured four large bolts on the inside. Then he took a length of builder’s plank and dropped it into two brackets in the door frame securing it like a barn door. He then took another length of plank and laid it on the floor with one end on the door and the other against his sideboard, which was resting against the opposite wall. “That is secure!” I told him.
He then took me to the kitchen where he showed me his back door security. The door only had one 2-lever lock - probably the original ‘builder’s lock' fitted when the house was built.
After suitable advice about the 2-lever lock not being fit for purpose a cat appeared from upstairs. ‘Ah, another burglary solved', I thought, but the complainant immediately dismissed any possibility of his pet being a Cat Burglar. 'It is not the cat!’ he insisted.
I promised I would investigate, but while he was removing the planks, bolts and other devices from the front door I told him I was concerned for his safety should he need to get out of the house quickly - should he have a fire in the kitchen, for example.
He stopped what he was doing, went to the sofa, reached underneath it and pulled out his World War Two RAF Tin Hat and put it on. He then said "I've thought of that. I put this on and dive through the window and do a forward roll on the pavement when I land!"
Set in his ways, happy and otherwise content, I left the complainant with his crime reference number and adjourned back to the nick. The matter was recorded as ‘No Crime’.